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Full text of "The independent"







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BONDED SERVICES 



Tender Loving 
Care For Film 
& Tape. 

You've put your best efforts into your 
productions. And you want to keep them 
looking good. 

That's why TV and film industry leaders 
the world over trust their motion pictures, 
audio and video tapes, and commercials 
to us. 

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environmentally controlled storage 
facilities are the world's largest, with 
modern depots in New York City, Fort Lee 
New Jersey, Los Angeles, Toronto, 
Amsterdam and Hong Kong. 




Inside, sophisticated systems using the 
latest technology protect your valued 
productions from damage, deterioration, 
fire or theft. 

Our expert staff gives you all the support 
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and rejuvenation services keep your 
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FILM & VIDEO MONTHLY 



IWEPENDEffl 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1985 


28 


VOLUME 8, NUMBER 1 








36 


Publisher: 


Lawrence Sapadin 




Editor: 


Martha Gever 


38 


Associate Editors: 


Susan Linfield 




Renee Tajima 




Contributing Editors: 


Robert Aaronson 
Bob Brodsky 


42 




Deborah Erickson 


46 




Debra Goldman 




Mary Guzzy 






Fenton Johnson 


14 




Jacqueline Leger 




David Leitner 


18 




Toni Treadway 


Editorial Assistant: 


Debra Payne 




Art Directors: 


Michael Barnes 
Roberto Bertrand 




Advertising: 


Barbara Spence; 
Marionette, Inc. 
(718-773-9869) 




Distributor: 


Bernhard DeBoer 
113 E. Center St., 
Nutley NJ 07110 




Typesetting: 


Skeezo Typography 




Printer: 


PetCap Press 


24 



The Independent is published ten times 
yearly by the Foundation for Independent 
Video and Film, Inc. (FIVF), 625 Broadway, 9th 
Floor, New York, NY 10012, (212-473-3400), a 
not-for-profit, tax-exempt educational foun- 
dation dedicated to the promotion of video 
and film, and by the Association of Indepen- 
dent Video and Filmmakers, Inc. (AIVF), the 
national trade association of independent 
producers and individuals involved in in- 
dependent video and film. Subscription is in- 
cluded with membership in AIVF. Together 
FIVF and AIVF provide a broad range of 
educational and professional services for in- 
dependents and the general public. Publica- 
tion of The Independent is made possible in 
part with public funds from the New York 
State Council on the Arts and the National 
Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. 

The Independent welcomes unsolicited 
manuscripts. Manuscripts cannot be returned 
unless a stamped, self -addressed envelope is 
included. No responsibility is assumed for loss 
or damage. 

Letters to The Independent should be ad- 
dressed to the editor. Letters may be edited 
for length. 

All contents are copyright of the Founda- 
tion for Independent Video and Film, Inc., ex- 
cept where otherwise noted. Reprints require 
written permission and acknowledgement of 
the article's previous appearance in The In- 
dependent. ISSN 0731-5198. 

©Foundation for Independent Video and Film, Inc. 
1985 

AIVF/FIVF STAFF MEMBERS: Lawrence Sapadin, 
executive director; Robert Aaronson, festival direc- 
tor; Andrea Estepa, membership services; Mary Guz- 
zy, administrative director; Sol Horwitz, Short Film 
Showcase project administrator; Susan Linfield, Short 
Film Showcase administrative assistant. 
AIVF/FIVF BOARDS OF DIRECTORS: Robert Richter. 
president; William Greaves, vice president; Lillian 
Jimenez, chair; Barton Weiss, secretary; Pearl Bowser. 
St. Clair Bourne; Christine Choy; Loni Ding Peter 
Kinoy; Howard Petrick Lawrence Sapadin (ex of- 
ficio); Richard Schmiechen. 



CONTENTS 

FEATURES 

AIVF at lO: A History 

by Debra Goldman 

Latino Media: Democracy Begins at Home 

by Renee E. Tajima 

NAMAC's Critical Condition 

by Martha Gever 

Foreign Currency: International Television Markets 

by Debra Wells 

Toward an Imperfect Video 

by Kathleen Hulser 

LETTERS 
MEDIA CLIPS 

Too Close for Comfort 

by Renee E Tajima 

Coast Coalition Convenes 

by Fenton Johnson 

CIA Request Spurs Producers' Debate 

Crisis to Crisis to Crisis 

NYSCA Names New Media Director 

FIELD REPORT 

The Problems of Pluralism: AFI Video Festival 

by Sherry Millner and Ernest Larsen 

50 FESTIVALS 

The Cannes Game 

by Dina and Mansa Silver 

Asian American International Film Festival: 
The Old World and the New 

by Robert Aaronson 

Athens: Small Classic 

by Josephine Dean 

In Brief 

58 IN AND OUT OF PRODUCTION 

by Mary Guzzy 

60 NOTICES 

68 MEMORANDA 




COVER: Brick by brick, AIVF has built on its foundation, expanding from a small New York- 
based group of producers to a national, multi-service organization, which provides everything 
from advocacy for its members to professional seminars, information services, and insurance. 
But it wasn't easy. In this special anniversary issue, Debra Goldman tells the inside story of AlVF's 
first decade of tumultuous growth. Illustration by Tim Grajek. g rim Grajeck 1985. 

THE INDEPENDENT 1 




Northern California's Film and Video 

service organizations Join In congratulating 

AIVF for 1 years of outstanding service 

to Independent media producers. 



National Asian American 
Telecommunications Association 



346 \inth Street. 2nd Floor 
San Francisco. California 94)03 



fC u** ncN 




BAVC □ 1 1 1 1 Seventeenth Street □ San Francisco. CA 94 1 07 
FAF Z 346 Ninth Street. 2nd Floor □ San Francisco. CA 94103 



And best wishes from, 



i 




KORTY FILMS 

JOHNKORTY 

200 Miller Avenue 
Mill Valley. CA 94941 



QUEST PRODUCTIONS, INC. 

qp 

BILL JERSEY 

4560 HORTON STREET 
EMERYVILLE, CA 94608 



CAROL MUNDAY LAWRENCE 

NGUZO SABA FILMS, INC. 

2482 Sutter Street 
San Francisco, CA 94115 



Adajk 

FILMS 



2051 THIRD ST SAN FRANCISCO. CA 94107 



VOX 

Productions, \nc. 

FILM- VIDEO -PUBLISHING 

LONI DING 

San Francisco. CA 



2 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/ FEBRUARY 1985 




We salute your 10th year. 

Congratulations to the Association of 
Independent Film and Videomakers, from 
the Labor Institute of Public Affairs (LIPA). 

LI PA is a nonprofit media production 
and distribution unit committed to putr 
ting the concerns, endeavors and dreams 
of working people on television. 
Commitment to independents. 

With funds from AFL-CIO members 
nationwide, we're committed to producing 
and distributing a wide range of programs 
that give you and other working people a 
vital presence — today and tomorrow — on 



network, public and cable TV, as well as 
the new electronic media. 

In two years weVe produced 18 episodes 
of our issues series, AMERICA WORKS, 
using dozens of independents. Our Cable- 
LINE experiment not only employed in- 
dies and other broadcast union members, 
but showcased the best independent docu- 
mentaries and features about workers 
and their concerns. In TV and radio adver- 
tising, internal cassette production and 
other areas, LIPA has forged a working 
collaboration with independents that has 
won respect from viewers, critics, the in- 



dustry and the labor movement. 
Look for the union label. 

As LIPA enters its third year, you'll be 
hearing about more exciting projects, all 
funded in part by union members — includ- 
ing those of you in the film and television 
unions. ^ 

We thank you for 
your talent and sup- 
port and salute you 
for your commitment 
to working people. 
Together we can 
make a difference. 



LABOR 



INSTITUTE 



of PUBLIC 
AFFAIRS 



CONGRATULATIONS, AIVF . . . 






Jlllif 



I 



juu 



RATULATIONS, AIVF! 

— Asian CineVision 






(713)522-8592 



SOUTHWEST ALTERNATE MECHA PROJECT 



1519 WEST MAIN 
HOUSTON TEXAS 77006 




from The Media Alliance W 



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8489 W THIRD ST 
LOS ANGELES CA 90048 



PITTSBURGH 
FIL MMAKERS 

THE MEDIA ARTS CENTER 



: EE -- ■ •_; _ 



(ECUTIVE DIRECTOR 



205 OAKLAND AVE P O BOX 7467 
PITTSBURGH PA 15213 14121 68 15449 



THE BOSTON FILM/VIDEO FOUNDATION, INC. 

■ ft ■ r / ▼ ■ r ■ 

1126 BOYLSTON ST BOSTON. MASS. 02215 

617-536 1540 












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We: 

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VIDEO GALLERY 
3 Santa Monica Bl.. 
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Creative Artist Management 

Idea Consultants 
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212-222-5476 



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355 w 85-1- Street Nra To-k NT 1002.4 
2)2-874-01)2 



DONALD SCHWARTZ 

Proaucer Car-era 



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Producer 



Happy Anniversary AIVF! 




straatwisa 


FiLmS 


Manny Kirchheimer 




completing "We Were 


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210 West K)i Si New YorK N Y VJ025 


212-AC2-1647 





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PORTLAND. OREGON 9 _T 214 



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Brookline. Massachusetls 02146 
(617)277 6639 

DA\ID \ SMITH ANN CAROL GROSSMAN 



DOROTHY TOD FILMS 



4 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/ FEBRUARY 1985 



CONGRATULATIONS 


AIVF AND TO THE INDEPENDENT ON YOUR 


IQ 

ANNIVERSARY 


We salute you for 


your contribution to the film and video community 


From the staff of 


the Department of Film 


The Museum of Modern Art 


1 1 West 53 St. 


New York, N.Y. 10019 


(212)708-9600 



The Museum of Modern Art 



N 



N O U 



N 



The Publication of a New 
CIRCULATING FILM LIBRARY CATALOG 
An up-to-date listing of the expanded holdings of the Circulating Film Library, this 
illustrated catalog spans the history of cinema from its beginnings to recent work by 
documentary and avant-garde filmmakers and animators, making it a major one-volume 
sourcebook on film history. THE CIRCULATING FILM LIBRARY CATALOG includes annotations 
on the 1,000 films in the collection and interpretive essays on the silent film by Eileen Bowser, 
the documentary by William Sloan, the European avant-garde by Larry Kardish, the Ameri- 
can avant-garde by Lucy Fischer, the British independents by John Ellis, and the history of 
documentary and animation at the National Film Board of Canada by Sally Bochner. 
Includes price list of film rentals, sales, and leases. 127 photos; indexes by title, director, 
country, and subject. 8V2 x 11" paperbound, 304 pages. 

Price: $12.95 plus $1.50 for postage and handling. 
Members' Price: $9.71 plus $1.50 for postage and handling. 



Please direct all orders and inquiries to: 

Publications Sales and Service, The Museum of Modern Art 

1 1 West 53 Street, New York, N.Y. 10019 (212) 956-7262 

A separate catalog of the Circulating Video Library is available free of charge. 



JANUARY/ FEBRUARY 1985 



THE INDEPENDENT 



CONGRATULATIONS, AIVF . . 



Dear AIVF: 

Without you I'd find it hard 

To call this here my business card 

Thanks , 
Ralph Arlyck 



KPISTEN SIMONE 
PuWc Pectoris 



212/289-8299 



FRANCES REID (415)658-5763 



Filmmaker • Cinematographer t 




Darryl Mitteldurf 



HIM • VIDEO PRODUCTION 

125 Second Avenue • New York. New York 10003 
(212) 673-6755 




IDEQ FREE EARTH 
Jamie Ufelters 



!7S0 I6TH ST NW //30B/WASH DC 2OOm/\202) 265-4191 



MICHAEL MAYERS PRODUCTIONS 



Cinematography/Production Services 



424 East 13th Street #20 

New York. NY 10009 

212-777-2735 



12121580-1111 






Sam Bryan 




EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR 




INTERNATIONAL FILM FOUNDATION 




ROOM 306 




155 WEST 72nd STREET 




NEW YORK. NY 10023 



W R1TTR & EDITOR. 



Trojan 




201- 472-1 2751 II hcmu 
212- 227 -I 5599 ^ office 



7Cortaflclaiit Clifron.f^J0 70i2 



Video and Film 



Alan Steinheimer 

878 Capp Street 

San Francisco. California 

94110 

(415)824-1174 




2 1 2/989- 1 508 

1 26 Iftfi o\«nue oeuu vork r\i 1 001 1 



Films to moke 
o difference 



Robert Richter Productions 



330 W. 42 Street 
New York. NY 10036 



(212)947-1395 



cAlcm <Ub ouj 



it-m, 




productions 



Jim Robbins 


(212) B6957C0 


154 WEST 46th STREET 
NEW YORK N Y 10036 




Fran Burst-Terranella 
Cheryl Gosa 



BURST/COSA PR •DUCTIONS. INC. 

PO BOX 5354 ATLANTA GEORGIA 30307 TELEPHONE 11041 523 8023 



(212) 666-6787 



Maria De Luca 

FILM PRODUCTION SERVICES 

Specializing in Directing. Editing & Documentary 

Cinematography 



205 West 95th Street - Apt 6B New York. N. V. 10025 



6 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/ FEBRUARY 1985 



N 



A.l.lr 



City_ 



State. 



Country (if outside US)_ 



Telephc 



Send check or money order to: AIVF, 625 Broadway, 9th floor, 
New York, NY 10012; or call (212) 473-3400. 



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HE ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT VII) 
AM) FILMMAKERS MEANS: 

Comprehensive health, disability and equipment insurance 

The Festival Bureau: your inside track to international and 

Advocacy: lobbying in Washington and throughout the cou 

Access to funding, distribution, technical and prop-amminfi 

Professional seminars and screenings 

Discounts on publications, car rentals and production servi< 

AND 

A subscription to THE INDEPENDENT Film & Video Mc 

to your needs ( 10 issues per year) 






■SB 1 / 
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■■■ 

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Congratulates 

AIVF 

and wants to 

thank all the artists 

and independents 

who worked 

with us 



FRANCESC TORRES* BILL BEIRNE* EUGENIA BALCELLS* RITA MYERS* PING CHONG 
BLONDELL CUMMINGS* LOUISE TIRANOFF • KAYLYNN SULLIVAN • MARTHA ROSLER 
ALZEK MISCHEFF • JACKI APPLE • EDGAR HEAP OF BIRDS • AGNES DENES • YASUNAO 
TONE • JAIME DAVIDOVICH • ARLEEN SCHLOSS • JOAN BLAIR • PAIGE RAMEY 
JOHN WILCOCK • DEEDEE HALLECK • ART KAMELL • DOUG EISENSTARK • AL 
ORENSANTZ • DAVID MENDELSOHN • WENDY CHAMBERS • PACO UNDERHILL 
JAIMIE WALTERS* SUSAN BRITTON • DORIS CHASE* MICHAEL DUFFY* ALEX HAHN 
INGO GUENTER • JEFF MCM AHON • PAUL GARRIN • LARRY MILLER • SHIGEKO KUBOT A 
MARTHA WILSON & DISBAND* JULIE TAYMORE* PETER VAN RIPER • CHRISTAGAMPER 
REYNOLD WEIDENAAR«BILL BECKLEY* WILLOUGHBY SHARP* ROUL MARROQUIN 
SHRIDAR BABAT* NANCY BURSON»LIZA BEAR* APRIL GARDINER & CHINA DAVIS 
JUDY HENRY* RITA MOREIRA*ANN WOOSTER*JEFF WICKLAND* INGE MAHN 
GLENDA HYDLER*VERNITA NEMEC* DAVID TROY* GEOFF HENDRICKS* DAVID 
KELLER • DARA BIRNBAUM • BARBARA ESS • HEIDI LATZKI • COLLIS DAVIS 
CAROL SHIMANSKI • ERIC TILLET • TOM LUCAS • JOHN GREYSON • CEZAIR 
STEFANIE SKURA • RISA JAROSLOV • DAVID HECHT • ALAN MOORE • GLORIA 
DEITSCHER*AL ROBBINS*ALEX ROSHUK* SARAH HORNBACHER* DAN WEISSMAN 
PENNY WARD* MIKE SCHLESSINGER* BOB HARRIS* SIMON PENNY* FRANZ VILA 
LICIO SOLANI • YUKI WATANABE • CLEMENS GOLF • TONY WHITFIELD* JOHN 
STACSAK • ROB LIST • ANNABELLE GEIGER • NORBERT PRZIBYLLA • BILL DAVIS 
ED HAMILTON • DAVID WALD • BETH LAPIDES • BRAD EROS & ALINE • ABBY 
LUBY • DAMON BRANDT • MARK FIELDS • NAM JUNE PAIK • JEFF SCHON 
TONY COKES • CATERINA BORELLi • NANCY GOLDRING • BARRY SHILLS • CHRISTIAN 
MARCLAY • JIM & MARIA SUTCLIFFE • RENEE ROCKOFF • MITCH CORBER 
ARTHUR BRESSAN • KATHY ROSE • JODY O'BRIAN • TODD CONGDON 
ANDY HORN • BETHANY JACOBSON • TAMAYO SASAKI • MINDY STEVENSON 
MARGIA KRAMER • HELEN GRANGER • JIM NEU • JOE BIETOLA • LUTZE 
CRAIG BROMBERG • TERRY MOHRE • GEORGE KOURY • JANE GREER 
JANA HAIMSOHN • TERRY BERKOWITZ • JOAN JUBELA • LUCY HEMMENDINGER 



VIDEO POST- PRODUCTION, NYC (212) 219-9240 



; ..-rr- 



■ M 






Keep the Faith. 



We have. 



Independent Programming Associates, Inc. 

Chicago 
312/871-6033 



JANUARY/ FEBRUARY 1985 



THE INDEPENDENT 



Anniversary Greetings from: 



William Farley, Oakland, Calif. 

Judi Fogelman, New York, N.Y. 

John Greyson, Toronto, Canada 

Barbara Kopple & Cabin Creek Center, N.Y.C. 

Stephanie Palewski, New York, N.Y. 

Philadelphia Independent Film/Video Association 

Bill Quinn Productions, Manasquan, N.J. 

Herbert I. Schiller, La Jolla, Calif. 

Maureen Selwood, New York, N.Y. 

Patricia Sides, New York, N.Y. 
Don Starnes, San Francisco, Calif. 
Catherine Wyler, Washington, D.C. 



r - u 

L a ia 

Deborah H. Payne 

GRAPHICS 

Specializing in brochures 

& other printed sales materials for 

the video & film industry 

212-491-4417 



CONGRATULATIONS AIVF! 

Best wishes for many more 
years of success! 



BARBARA SI ROTA PRODUCTIONS 
Marketing, fundraising, 
packaging, personal marketing 
consulting services for the 
independent community 




THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/ FEBRUARY 1985 



PORTRAITS FROM AMERICA 

by Emile de Antonio 



POINT OF ORDER 
MILLHOUSE: A WHITE COMEDY 
PAINTERS PAINTING 
IN THE YEAR OF THE PIG 

UNDERGROUND 
IN THE KING OF PRUSSIA 



For distributors, stories, prizes, 

as well as information 

concerning personal appearances 

call or write: 

TURIN FILM CORP. BOX 1567, NEW YORK, N.Y. 10017 TEL: 212-475-2630 







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JANUARY/ FEBRUARY 1985 



THE INDEPENDENT 



% 




The American Film institute 



QQalutet 



THE ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT 
VIDEO AND FILMMAKERS 




77-/5 

INDEPENDENT 

FILMS 

VIDEOMAKERS 

GUIDE 



□ THE IXDEPEXDEXT FILM "ease make >our check pasahle to Michael Wies 

& VIDEOMAKERS GUIDE Name: 

19X4. 400 pp.. 45 illustrations. 

□ FILM & VIDEO BUDGETS 

1984. 300 pp. IX budgets 

Each book is SI4.95 plus SI 75 shipping = $16.70 



Addres 
Cits 



— Slate: 



Zip:. 



(In Connecticut add $1.25 sales lav per book I 

IZ1 Order both books Save $5.00! TOTAL S2K.40 (in- 
cludes shipping) (In Connecticut add S2 I 3 sales lav i 



Mail check and ihis form to MICHAEL WIESE, 
BOX 406. WESTPORT. CT 06X81. Thank sou 



New Low Price of S12.00 

THE BURDEN OF DREAMS BOOK. 

By Les Blank. Maureen Gosling. Werner 

Herzog. 320 pages. 74 photos. A colorful 

and personal "behind fhe scenes 

casebook Brand New. 

LES BLANK'S FLOWER FILMS 

10341R Son Pablo Avenue 

El Cerriro. California 94530 

415 - 525-0942 

Home of American Film Festival Blue 
Ribbon winners: Always for Pleasure. 
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lO THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1985 



CONGRATULATIONS TO 
A.I.V.F. 

on 10 years of achievement, 
with best wishes for 
the future, from the 



FILM & VIDEO 

TRAVEL 
SHEET 



Now in its twelfth year of 
serving independent media 

Published monthly by the 
Section of Film & Video 
Museum of Art 
Carnegie Institute 
4400 Forbes Avenue 
Pittsburgh, PA 15213 

Made possible in part by grants from: 
National Endowment for the Arts; 
Pennsylvania Council on the Arts 



CONGRATULATIONS 

TO 

AIVF ON ITS 
10th ANNIVERSARY 



THE TEXTURE FILMS COLLECTION P.O.BOX 1337 SKOKIE, ILLINOIS 60076 




JANUARY/ FEBRUARY 1985 



THE INDEPENDENT 11 













B 




THE CINEMA GUILD 




Congratulations 
toAIVFon 
Your 10th 

Anniversary! 

From One 

of America's 

Leading Distributors 

of Independent Films 

THE CINEMA GUILD 

1697 Broadway 
New York, NY 10019 
Phone (212) 246-5522 





New American Filmmakers Series 

Exhibitions of Independent Film and Video 



Happy 

Anniversary 

AIVF! 



Whitney Museum of American Art 
Madison at 75th Street • 570-0537 



Congratulations AIVF and 

thanks for 10 years of 

distinguished service to 

the community 

of independent 

film and video makers! 



THE KITCHEN 

Center for video, music, 

dance, performance & film 

59 Vtooster, NYC 212/925-3615 



GARY WATSON 




Cameraman 




Assistant Cameraman 




Film / Video 




10215 BEECHNUT «1104 


PHONE 


HOUSTON. TEXAS 77072 


(713)566-2790 



EDWARD A. MASON, M. D. 



6 1 7-366-6793 



Documentaries Fop Learning 

3 8 fenwood road 

boston. mass. 021i8 



*=*■! 



IDHN 



PSYCHOANALYTIC PSYCHOTHERAPIST 

Individual and group counselling. 

Highly trained; state certified. 
Years of experience working with 
freelance professionals and artists. 

Sliding scale. 212-691-6695. 



«-"- . 





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mm 


+ 454* 7|00 





\ 



Brodslty & 

Treadway 



"SuperS 
In the 
Video Age' 




Bob Brodslty 
Toni Treadway 

(617)666-1372 
63 Dimick Street 
Somerville. Mass 02143 
BOSTON. USA 



'liijmm^iiis 



<M'A# 



AIVF... TO YOUR HEALTH, STRENGTH, AND VITALITY 

here's to the next tenJ l '. 



Bob Becker 

George Kane 

Alan Lebow . . . 

producers, AMERICAN MADE 

505 Fifth Avenue. Suite 1602. NYC- NY. 10017 1 



12 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/ FEBRUARY 1985 



The Newlfork City Mayor's Office 
of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting 

Salutes 
AIVF 



on its 

Tenth 
Anniversary 



Edward I. Koch, Mayor 

Patricia Reed Scott, Director 

Mayor's Office 

of Film, Theatre 

and Broadcasting 

110 West 57th Street 

New York, New York 10019 

(212)489-6710 



JANUARY/ FEBRUARY 1985 THE INDEPENDENT 13 



LETTERS 



FAIR SHARE 

To the editor: 

Your article entitled "Summer Summit" [Renee Ta- 
jima, "Media Clips," October 1984] has prompted me 
to write you. There are certain conclusions which we at 
the Program Fund do not feel are warranted by the ac- 
tions of the legislation. 

The author infers from the quoted section of the 
House report accompanying CPB's Authorization Bill 
(HR 5541) that independents have a "role in shaping 
public broadcasting programming." Actually, the 
report refers to independent work as an indispensable 
element of program source diversity for the entire 
public broadcasting system. The characterization 
made by the article suggests a greater policy role for in- 
dependents than even the partisan House committee 
anticipated. 

The article sidesteps the issue of why the legislation 
itself did not reflect any changes in language. It sug- 
gests that legislators wanted to avoid opportunities for 
opponents of public broadcasting. This is true enough; 
however, the committees also did not agree with the in- 
dependent position on many issues, such as statutory 
set asides. 

The article goes on to state that "both the House and 
Senate affirmed the exclusion of the Frontline series 
from the category - of independent funding." The 
Senate report made no mention of Frontline. The 
House report referred to Frontline as a source of con- 
cern because it had been designated as an independcent 
production. The report went on to acknowledge CPB's 
decision to discontinue counting the series Frontline as 
currently produced as an independent production 
and noted that this decision was consistent with the 
congressional mandate to devote a substantial portion 
of the Program Fund to independent producers and 
production entities. The House report did not, as was 
reported in the article, "establish the principle that 
final edit is an essential element of independent pro- 
duction — a definition that goes beyond what the law 
requires"; rather, the House report seemed to endorse 
the CPB definition. In addition, I might add, the 
Frontline staff is making certain changes in their struc- 
ture and procedures which we hope will enable in- 
dependents working for them again to be counted. 

Last, Larry Sapadin's statement that if the sup- 
plemental funding bill passed, the Program Fund 
director has indicated that $1 -million of the fund 
would be stipulated for independents in the August 
1984 Open Solicitation. What I said in fact is included 
in a letter to Larry Sapadin and the AIVF dated March 
23, 1984. The letter refers to supplemental funding in 
two places. In the first instance, it says, "If as a result 
of the supplemental appropriation for CPB FY '84, 
FY '85, and FY '86 the amounts of money available to 
the Program Fund increase substantially, the Program 
Fund expects to allocate substantial amounts of those 
increases to the Open Solicitation funding process or 
similar funding structures that may be established by 
the Program Fund." The letter later goes on to state, 
"If CPB receives a supplemental appropriation for FY 
'84 that results in an increase in the amount available 
for program production, then for FY '84 only the Pro- 
gram Fund will allocate a substantial amount of such 



increase for financing productions by independent 
producers. Perhaps this will be accomplished by 
special solicitation for proposals from independent 
producers." In FY '84 the Program Fund received an 
additional $1 -million as a result of the supplemental 
and has added $400,000 of that to the August Open 
Solicitation for independent productions. The an- 
nouncement will be made as to which independents 
from that round of solicitations have received the 
monies shortly. 

I hope this response makes clear the Program Fund's 
interpretation of the past summer's events as reported in 
your article. 

—Ron Hull 
Director, CPB Program Fund 



Renee Tajima replies: 

First, it seems odd for Ron Hull to argue that in- 
dependents do not have a "role in shaping public 
broadcasting programming" when CPB regularly 
claims to be distributing 40% of its national produc- 
tion funds to independent producers. 

With respect to the shaping of public broadcast 
policy, independents have played a signficant role for 
some time, including testimony before the Carnegie 
Commission on public broadcasting in 1978, 
testimony before Congress on every CPB funding bill 
since 1977, participation in CPB's own Five Year Plan- 
ning Committee, numerous presentations to the CPB 
Board and, most recendy, in negotiations and policy 
meetings with CPB's Program Fund and management 
staff. 

Concerning these recent meetings, the Senate said: 

"The Committee approves the decision to 
schedule regular meetings between the Fund 
and the independent producers, and believes 
that good faith negotiations among the in- 
terested parties is consistent with Congres- 
sional intent. Ongoing meetings between the 
Program Fund and representatives of in- 
dependent producers will provide a structure 
whereby the Committee can be alerted to 
problems in the procedures used to allocate 
Federal funds for public broadcast program- 
ming. The Committee will monitor CPB's 
progress in achieving the desired goals." 

And from the House: 

"CPB and a group of independent producers 
have conducted meetings over the last several 
months in an effort to reach agreement on 
many of these issues and to forge a more pro- 
ductive working policy for the future . . . The 
Committee welcomes these recent efforts of 
CPB in that they evidence strides being made 
in the direction of strengthening the ties be- 
tween the broad creative and innovative inde- 
pendent production community and the 
more established components of public 
broadcasting. While CPB has made a 
positive step in the right direction, the Com- 
mittee urges CPB, public television stations, 
and independents to continue to work to- 



gether to ensure that the Program Fund op- 
erates to provide high quality programming 
from a wide range of sources." 

Second, recognition that editorial control is an 
essential element of a definition of independent pro- 
duction is implicit in CPB's agreement to exclude 
Frontline. This agreement was reached in negotiations 
with AIVF and other representatives and cited with ap- 
proval in the House Report. 

Finally, Hull's March 23, 1984 letter notwithstand- 
ing, at the July 24, 1984 policy meeting with in- 
dependents, Hull is indeed reported to have said that if 
CPB's full supplemental appropriation of $15-million 
were approved for 1984 (of which about $2.5-million 
would go into the Fund), $1 -million would be put into 
Open Solicitations. Since, in the end, Congress 
significantly reduced the appropriation, the specific 
dollar commitment became academic. We are pleased 
to hear that an additional $400,000 has become avail- 
able for independent production. 

APPLIERS BEWARE 

To the editor: 

I would like to correct a significant misstatement in 
"An Independent Primer for University Film and 
Video Association" [Betsy McLane, "Field Report," 
November 1984] which says that I suggest applicants 
"get to know panelists personally through telephone 
calls and visits, as well as letters." I cannot think of 
more inappropriate advice to Endowment ap- 
plicants — if there's one thing we've learned over the 
years, it's the uniformly negative response of panelists 
to any type of "lobbying" on the part of applicants. 
I'm concerned that applicants might seriously jeopar- 
dize their opportunities for funding by heeding this 
"advice." Applicants should feel free to call or visit 
Endowment staff members, as one of our functions is 
to represent applicants' goals clearly to panelists. 

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate 
FIVF on its tenth anniversary. We are proud of the 
work you and your members have done, both in- 
dividually and collectively, and look forward to your 
continuing success-. 

— Perrin Ireland 
Art Specialist, NEA Media Arts Program 

SECOND POSITION 

To the editor: 

As a member of the Board of Directors of Dance Films 
Association (DFA), I am writing in response to 
Deborah Erickson's description of the Dance on 
Camera Festival ["Pterodactyl Lake," November 
1984]. 

Erickson, who has never attended any sessions of 
our annual festival, has nevertheless felt qualified to 
comment. In addition, she has focused on only one of 
our organization's several functions. (She need only 
have referred to the half-column advertisement on 
page 6 of the same issue in which her article appeared 
to have read about some of the new services we are 
making available, specifically involving videotape, in 
our New York City offices.) Furthermore, her infor- 



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mation on publicity for the 1984 festival is totally er- 
roneous. Forty-four film and video publications and 
17 dance publications, in addition to the "usual 
sources" like the New York Times, all received our 
publicity information, and more than 250,000 copies 
of brochures describing the festival were distributed in 
the New York City area. The number of entries received 
in 1984 was not substantially different from those re- 
ceived in previous years, although the mix of films and 
videotapes has shifted dramatically toward the latter. 

Our Board is very aware that Dance on Camera can 
and should grow in stature as an international festival. 
I sincerely doubt, however, that describing it as an 
event on the verge of extinction is the kind of help we 
need in nurturing that growth. For years, Susan 
Braun, our executive director, has been operating 
heroically on an extremely limited budget and deserves 
our congratulations for the survival of our organiza- 
tion and the festival, rather than criticism for its failure 
to grow at a rate of which Erickson would approve. 
We appreciate a little credit for effort and good faith 
and welcome constructive suggestions and involve- 
ment from the dance/ film/video community. 

— Jonathan R. Bell 
New York City 

Deborah Erickson replies: 

The purpose of The Independent's festival column is 
to provide film and videomakers with information, 
not publicity material. Discussion of an organization's 
non- festival activities is irrelevant. It is my responsibili- 
ty to make appraisals based on all the sources I con- 
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and DFA board member Virginia Brooks said the 
festival's publicity consisted of some 100 flyers mailed 
to publications with free listings; your letter presents an 
even lower Figure. Two hundred fifty thousand 
brochures were never mentioned to me; I would have 
included such information, had it been given. 
However, I stand by my evaluation of Dance on 
Camera, and feel strongly that the excellent dance 
films and videos being produced in this country 
deserve support; I hope your board can organize a 
strong event to showcase this art form. 



SERIOUS BUSINESS 

To the editor: 

Coping with the recent demise of the two foremost ex- 
periments in short film distribution, ICAP and Serious 
Business Company, has been difficult for all concerned. 
However, it strikes me as an unfair comparison for 
Debra Goldman ["Media Clips, November 1984) to 
preface the announcement of ICAP's closing with the 
assertion that "it falls short of disaster" because, 
unlike Serious Business Company, ICAP leaves no 
debts to filmmakers. The overall impression is that 
ICAP was an unswerving support to filmmakers, but 
was stabbed in the back by NYSCA's funding cut, 
while Serious Business simply failed (a crime in itself in 
our particular economic culture) — and, owing money, 
is doubly suspect. 

As a filmmaker who was handled by both organiza- 
tions, I must say that whatever financial debt Freude 
Bartlett's Serious Business Co. owed me was more 
than compensated by her extraordinary efforts during 
the 10 years of our association. Freude was a brilliant 
and tireless promoter of a widely diverse collection of 
short films: experimental animation to documentaries 
on health and feminist issues. She took films other 
distributors wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole and 
carved a significant niche for them among the normal- 
ly staid nontheatrical heartland. 

Freude did not have any government or foundation 
funding to support her company. During the final two 
years of Serious Business, when most economic in- 
dicators were turned against our field, Freude was 
engaged in a courageous campaign to secure a bank 
loan to expand, which, in the cruel logic of our system, 
often means mere survival. When the banks balked, 
the "smart" alternative would have been bankruptcy. 
Freude opted instead for a percentage pay-back to the 
filmmakers which meant that no one was left 
completely empty-handed. Today, more than a year 
later, she is still acting as a reference service for ongoing 
calls and correspondence. 

— George Griffin 
New York City 

Debra Goldman replies: 

I cannot take credit for Griffin's "overall impression" 
of my account of ICAP's demise and its relation to the 
equally unfortunate failure of Serious Business Com- 
pany. Bartlett's decision not to declare bankruptcy and 
pay her filmmaking clients gradually [see Media Clips, 
October 1983] is a testament to her dedication— but it 
is neverthless a burdensome and time-consuming task, 
which, in the best of all possible worlds, she would 
never have had to undertake. Serious Business, like 
ICAP, was a victim of the shrinking short film market. 
It is a "disaster" for the field when small distributors 
like Bartlett cannot survive. 



16 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1985 









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Debate over the definition of "independent" re- 
surfaced once again when the California Arts 
Council (CAQ turned down a funding proposal 
from the Los Angeles affiliate of the Indepen- 
dent Feature Project (IFPAVest) in October. 
The 700-plus member group had received one 
prior grant of $6,600 from CAC the previous 
year. 

IFP/West was angered by the rationale be- 
hind the decision of the six-member film and 
video panel which rejected the request. Accord- 
ing to IFP/West's director Lynette Mathis, CAC 
cited IFP's presumed lack of substantive serv- 
ices, said that the group was not fulfilling its 
claim to promote and support independent film- 
makers, and mentioned the heavy competition 
for state dollars. (Larry Larson, director of 
CAC's grants program, estimates that 400 to 500 
applicants in all disciplines were rejected for 
funding this year.) But the clincher seems to be 
the core of the panel's criticism was the question 
of IPF/West's "too heavy industry 
orientation." Says Larson, "It centered on the 
disagreement as to what the role of the indepen- 
dent really means. IFP sees independent as non- 
studio financed. Our panel sees it as a little more 
than that. Not just low-budget work, but more 
of an aesthetic issue." 

IFP/West officials agreed that the two parties 
did not see eye to eye on the independent identi- 
ty, and questioned CAC's role in defining, or 
"dictating," the term. In a letter to CAC's chair 
Consuelo Killens, IFPAVest president Victoria 
Wozniak pointed out, "The IFP/West exists to 
support films in which the vision of the primary 
creators (producer, writer, director, actor, etc.) is 
realized without significant alteration by the 
sources of financing. Whether a film is tradi- 
tional or avant garde, studio produced or in- 
dependently financed, it is 'independent' if the 
filmmakers — and not the lawyers and accoun- 
tants — are in charge. This viewpoint is more in- 
clusive than that put forth by the Arts Council, 
which would seem to define only 'art for art's 
sake' films as independent." 

But panelists questioned the balance of 
IPF/West's programs. "Overall, my feeling was 
that they seemed to be just a little too much 
oriented toward Hollywood," says panelist Wil- 
ly Varela, an independent filmmaker. "It seemed 
they were trying to break into the industry rather 
than [supporting] an independent artistic vision 
that breaks those industry conventions." 
IFP/West sponsors a number of programs, in- 
cluding screenings, seminars, workshops, a 
newsletter, information services to in- 
dependents, a weekly cable television series 
geared to independents, evenings with promi- 
nent professionals, and social events. The 



November calendar, for example, combined 
seminars on legal issues, marketing and distribu- 
tion of independent features, and computer 
editing with a screening of Wim Wenders' Paris, 
Texas and an evening with advisory board 
member and producer David Puttnam (Chariots 
of Fire, The Killing Fields). 

Panelists objected to the screening of films 
that are commercially distributed, such as Paris, 
Texas and John Sayles's The Brother from 
Another Planet, and questioned the composi- 
tion of IFP's nine-member advisory board, 
which is composed of Jane Alsobrook (20th 
Century-Fox Classics), Wilbur Hobbs, Jr. 
(Crocker National Bank), independent pro- 
ducers David Puttnam and Jonathan Sanger, 
Michelle Satter (Sundance Institute), Charles 
Schreger (Triumph/Columbia Films), Daniel 
Selznick (Louis B. Mayer Foundation), Eric 
Weissmann (Weissmann, Wolff, Bergman, Col- 
eman and Schulman), and Ken Wlaschin 
(Filmex). Mathis thinks the panel may be 
"suspicious of IFP's amicable relationship with 
the industry. " As Wozniak pointed out in her let- 
ter to Killens, "Since this organization is based in 
Los Angeles, it would be supremely naive and 
counterproductive not to develop ties with those 
working 'within the system' who support us and 
align themselves with our goals. And we would 
be foolish not to make available to our members 
this important pool of expertise — whether a 
filmmaker chooses to work in, out, or in and out 
of the studio system is then up to the 
filmmaker." 

One highly visible IFP/West program was the 
annual Independents' Day Seminar in conjunc- 
tion with Filmex. Speakers at the July event in- 
cluded industry heavies like Mark Rosenberg, 
production chief at Warner Bros., and directors 
Joe Dante and Mark Rydell. "There's a tremen- 
dous need for an organization like IFP out 
here," says panelist Jacqueline Kain of the 
American Film Institute. "But the question is, 
are they doing seminars which are basically train- 
ing for the system or are they doing things to get 
films made that would not otherwise get made?" 

According to Larson, there is no possibility 
that CAC will reverse this year's decision. But 
the issue has again been raised: where does inde- 
pendence leave off and the industry begin? Un- 
doubtedly those boundaries will shift with the aes- 
thetic and economic currents of the times. 

— Renee Tajima 

COAST COALITION 
CONVENES 

Over 100 Northern California independent pro- 
ducers turned out November 16 to hear 



Lawrence Sapadin, executive director of the 
Association of Independent Video and Film- 
makers, and to gather advice from local veterans 
of government funding battles. The occasion 
marked the first anniversary of the Association 
of California Independent Public Television 
Producers (ACIPTP), formed to act as Califor- 
nia independents' research and advocacy arm. 
Included in its member organizations are the Bay 
Area Black Media Coalition, Bay Area Video 
Coalition, Cine Accion, East Bay Media Coali- 
tion, Film Arts Foundation, National Asian 
American Telecommunications Association, 
Media Alliance, Pacific [Islanders] Educational 
Network, and Video Free America. 

Sapadin presented a thumbnail sketch of the 
15-year history of federal support for public 
broadcasting and independents. Noting that 
President Reagan has declared public broad- 
casting persona non grata, hesaid, "Ourjob isto 
develop and put forth our own agenda for public 
television's future, and to mobilize the public to 
support it. " He outlined strategies to achieve this 
"daunting" task, such as forming coalitions with 
others who share independents' concerns (in- 
cluding such natural constituencies as unions, 
gays, women, and minorities) and sharpening in- 
dependents' lobbying skills. "Independents 
must realize that media advocacy is as much a 
pan of our job as writing grant proposals, refin- 
ing our technical skills or having lunch with 
potential investors," Sapadin said. 

Following Sapadin's speech, California 
Newsreel's Larry Daressa gave an "insiders' 
view" of the government funding treadmill. "To 
understand what the Corporation for Public 
Broadcasting wants [to support financially] is to 
understand where it's at: attracting large prime 
time audiences in order to help public television 
woo corporate underwriting and individual 
members. If you [create] something esoteric, 
you're not going to get in." And, Daressa noted, 
"If you don't have some sort of track record, 
forget it. CPB does not view itself as a funder of 
experiments." Speaking from the audience, pro- 
ducer Carol Lawrence agreed: "CPB is not the 
place to start. But you can get together with 
others who do have the track record you need." 

While CPB priorities are not hard and fast, 
Daressa said that, in conversations with CPB 
Program Fund director Ron Hull and CPB 
staff, the following areas won CPB's nod: 
American literature dramatizations; anything 
for children in the eight-to-12 age bracket; pro- 
grams which "make people proud of their coun- 
try and heritage"; performances or documen- 
taries about popular culture; comedy. Daressa 
noted that international affairs programs are low 
on CPB's shopping list. "If you think that what 



18 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1985 



happened on November 6 affected those priori- 
ties, you're not far wrong," Daressa added. 

Independent producers Skip Sweeney and 
Louise Lo then joined Daressa and Sapadin to 
field audience questions. Lo pointed out that 
among ACIPTP's principal goals is "holding 
CPB to its commitment to funding minority pro- 
gramming," especially important because the 
number of minority proposals has been drop- 
ping. "That's* hardly surprising, given [CPB's] 
record of poor outreach and their abysmal fund- 
ing percentages." Panelists stressed that if ap- 
proached professionally (i.e., with a query letter 
first, then a follow-up phone call), CPB staff is 
willing to discuss potential proposals. 

In organization and diversity, the evening 
demonstrated the development of ACIPTP 
itself. The familiar faces were there, but there 
was also a sprinkling of newcomers and healthy 
representation of women and minorities. Last 
year's meeting, though well-attended, was 
rambling and unfocused, with little in the way of 
tangible advice for newcomers or old hands. But 
both veterans and novices gave high ratings to 
this year's speakers for their conciseness and 
pragmatism. "We've spent a year investigating 
the pressures and problems facing the Program 
Fund and the stations," Daressa said afterwards. 
"Consequently, we were able to give a much 
clearer outline of present Program Fund 
priorities and identify concrete routes through 
which independents' work could become a more 
intrinsic part of public broadcasting." 

— Fenton Johnson 



CIA REQUEST SPURS 
PRODUCERS' DEBATE 

Last fall, the Central Intelligence Agency sent a 
purchase order to Icarus Films for approximate- 
ly one dozen films and videotapes from the 
distributor's Central American Film Library, 
one of the largest of its kind in the United States. 
Most are documentaries critical of United States 
foreign policy — and CIA involvement — in the 
region. 

What does it mean? There is no doubt that 
U.S. intelligence forces are taking an increasing- 
ly active interest in Central American affairs. 
And independents have been able to penetrate 
the region, documenting politically sensitive, 
controversial news material [see Susan Linfield, 
"To the Source in Latin America," The In- 
dependent, January/February]. Are these 
independent works becoming a source for in- 
telligence gathering by the very agencies they 
criticize? And shouldn't producers expect that 
their works may well end up in the possession of 
intelligence organizations? Political film and 
videomakers have reacted strongly, sometimes 
passionately, to this issue. 

Because of the political sensitivity involved, 
Icarus president Jonathan Miller informed each 
producer of the CIA's request, leaving the deci- 



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sion of whether or not to sell to the film and 
videomakers themselves. Still, the Icarus case 
raises broader moral and political questions for 
independents. 

The CIA's request was unusual. It was the first 
that Icarus had received from an intelligence 
agency; and, in a survey of distributors that han- 
dle media dealing with sensitive issues in 
American foreign policy — California Newsreel, 
the Cinema Guild, Downtown Community Tele- 
vision, Third World Newsreel, and (now- 
defunct) Tricontinental Films — no one I spoke 
to had ever encountered as hefty an order. Larry 
Daressa of California Newsreel says the group 
receives a rental order every August for Willmar 
8, a documentary about a strike by female bank 
workers, to be shown at the agency for Federal 
Women's Week. Four years ago, DCTV was 
asked for a preview copy of the 1974 video Cuba: 
The People. A few distributors had received 
single copy orders. 

Because of confidentiality with his clients, 
Miller declined to reveal the names of the re- 
quested films and tapes. However, from conver- 
sations with a number of producers listed in 
Icarus's catalogue who told me their work had 
been requested by the CIA, it appears that the 
agency was interested primarily in works on 
Nicaragua. According to Icarus staffer Domini- 
que Bomhauser, a CIA purchasing officer re- 
quested Spanish-language versions of the films 
and tapes in a phone conversation. 

Pam Tenneson of the CIA's purchasing de- 
partment in Langley, Virginia told me that al- 
though film and video requests normally come 
through her office, she did not remember any 
order to Icarus. However, she stated that she is 
not able to comment on such matters in any case. 
Similarly, Harold Padgett, deputy chief of pro- 
curement would not comment on whether or not 
an order had been placed or on how the films 
and tapes could be used. He suggested, "I think 
you may have gotten some bum information" 
regarding the purchase order. Patty Volz of the 
agency's Media Affairs department said, "We 
obviously can't get into releasing our purchasing 
or acquisitions to the public. There may be varie- 
ty of reasons why they were bought, but we 
couldn't release the information." She would 
neither confirm nor deny the purchase order. 

If the CIA was reluctant to talk, producers 
and distributors had a lot to say about the possi- 
ble scenarios for, and responses to, a CIA buy. 
The most immediate concern for producers is 
protecting the people appearing in their films or 
tapes from possible danger or political 
reprisal — a dilemma they face from the very 
beginning of production. "We thought that if 
there was an invasion of Nicaragua, we didn't 
want to endanger those people," said DeeDee 
Halleck, producer of Waiting for the Invasion, a 
portrait of North Americans living in Nicaragua, 
many of whom support the Sandinistas. Halleck 
directed Miller not to sell Waiting when it was re- 



quested by the CIA. Allan Siegel of Third World 
Newsreel, who is currently editing a documen- 
tary about the Nicaraguan Peace Fleet, said, 
"It's like giving the CIA a capsulized report on 
people." He added that Third World Newsreel 
would not sell to intelligence agencies under any 
circumstances. 

Miller does not agree with Halleck 's Under 
Fire scenario. "First off," he said, "the CIA 
knows everyone [North Americans] in Nicara- 
gua already. They can find out [about] everyone 
who takes a plane [down to Nicaragua]. Dee- 
Dee's film was on national television. I don't 
think [hers] is a practical decision, it's a moral 
decision." He added, "I think [the CIA] is prob- 
ably buying them [the films] for their back- 
ground reports, like they buy books." 

Wolf Tirado, a Managua-based videomaker 
whose Thank God and the Revolution and The 
Pope: Pilgrim of Peace? are handled by Icarus, 
did agree to sell tapes to the CIA. "Our position 
is, if the CIA wants to have our film, they prob- 
ably got it four years ago," said Tirado. "I think 
you should look beyond the fact that the CIA is 
buying those films, and look at why they're buy- 
ing. I don't think they're interested in using them 
against us in Nicaragua or against the people in 
the film. I think it's a way of putting presure on 
Icarus, to say, 'We know what you're doing, 
we're following you."' Tirado pointed out, 
"Here in Nicaragua [we have] mines in the port, 
bombs falling on our heads and kids getting killed 
every day — and the CIA is doing it. Why should 
we worry about them buying Betamax copies?" 
Tirado said his main concern is that Icarus is pro- 
tected here in the States and that it not suffer 
negative consequences by refusing to cooperate 
with the agency. 

Halleck argues that the independent com- 
munity should not cooperate with any form of 
intimidation. "People should understand that as 
repression gets harder — although they may 
think 'Oh, why not talk to the FBI or someone, 
they have nothing on me' — that's the way they 
accumulate information." She admits that an 
intelligence-gathering agency could get copies of 
films and tapes through a number of different 
channels, including taping off the air and pur- 
chase or rental through an assumed name. In ad- 
dition, many of the people who appear in these 
films are already public figures or are known for 
their activities. John Greyson, co-producer of 
Manzana por Manzana, a videotape shot in 
Nicaragua which is distributed by Icarus, said, 
"In a practical sense, it may not make much dif- 
ference whether or not we sell it. But politically 
there was no choice involved for us. It's such a 
bad precedent to sell to the CIA. It just comes 
down to a matter of collaboration." 

Larry Daressa of California Newsreel, which 
produces and distributes social issue films, said 
the group would not unilaterally refuse to sell or 
rent films to intelligence agencies. "I think we 
would be very reluctant to become financially 



dependent on their business. My position is that 
the CIA and FBI do maintain quite legitimate 
educational programs but they also undertake 
subversive, covert activities. In the case of Cen- 
tral America, if there is sensitive footage, even if it 
was available off-air, then as a matter of princi- 
ple, we wouldn't sell it." But Daressa thinks that 
ethical considerations do not end with direct 
sales. "I think that people who have scruples 
about selling to the CIA should have scruples 
about airing [their work] nationally." 

Siegel asserts that producers should not be 
resigned to the fact that "they [intelligence agen- 
cies] can get it anyway." He points out that a 
Freedom of Information request can be filed to 
determine if an agency such as the CIA or FBI 
possesses a pirated copy of a film or tape. Third 
World Newsreel discovered evidence of such an 
acquisition when a writer researching the Black 
Panther Party filed for information from the 
FBI. A bureau memo on "Counterintelligence 
Program/Black-Nationalist Hate Groups/Racial 
Intelligence (Black Panther Party)," dated 
February 13, 1970, read, "The Bureau ap- 
preciates your suggestion in connection with the 
CBS television program 60 Minutes, but believes 
the Black Panther Party film Off the Pig very 
adequate. . ." Off the Pig was distributed by 
Third World Newsreel, which had not sold a 
copy to the FBI. Attorney Marty Stolar points 
out that if a copy has been struck illegally by a 
government agency, it may be possible to bring a 
copyright infringement suit. 

Because these films and tapes are part of a 
larger reality, created to influence public policy, 
the real test of their impact often lies in how and 
to whom they are distributed. When the material 
is highly sensitive, and when the subject matter is 
highly politicized, can and should the producers 
limit distribution from institutions whose in- 
terests they regard as opposite to their own? A 
striking theme in this discussion has been the 
consistent reference by independents to the CIA 
(and FBI) as — "them," a sort of evil empire to 
which a range of subversive activities are as- 
cribed. But precisely because these agencies 
operate in an environment of secrecy, the dia- 
logue becomes mired only in speculation based 
on the CIA's past track record or information 
acquired through the Freedom of Information 
Act. The most common initial response I re- 
ceived from producers and distributors as to the 
CIA's reason for ordering films and tapes was, 
"Well, it's obvious what they want them for." 
Everyone knows, but no one knows. 

On location and in the cutting room, produc- 
ers have debated the moral dilemma of exposing 
their sources to danger. Clearly, the conflict in 
Central America has been unprecedented in its 
coverage by independents — coverage which has 
been publicly shown early enough in the conflict 
to effect policy. Because independents have a 
close relationship with and remarkable access to 
their subjects (the networks often rely on in- 



20 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/ FEBRUARY 1985 



dependents for difficult-to-get material), in- 
dependents find themselves in a position of vul- 
nerability and responsibility. But since the 
morality of relationships with government agen- 
cies is nebulous, there is a tendency to react to 
governmental requests with hysteria or cynicism. 
To counter the secrecy, and to achieve informed 
moral choices, perhaps this issue should be taken 
to a public forum.. — RT 



CRISIS TO CRISIS TO CRISIS 

During a November 1984 seminar at Global Vil- 
lage, Gail Christian, director of news at PBS, 
questioned whether independents should con- 
tinue to regard public television as an accessible 
broadcast outlet. "I don't think you should look 
at public television the way you looked at it five 
or 10 years ago," said Christian. She pointed out 
that PBS itself is an entity accountable to its 
member stations, and not the audience. "What 
are they [the stations] interested in? Prime time, 
big budget [programs], primarily series, and 
more glitz than we wanted in the past." She con- 
tinued, "If you've got a fancy program on polar 
bears, I'll have an easier time selling it than a 
30-minute documentary on El Salvador, which I 
have no indication that stations will air." 

Christian's comments were part of a panel 
discussion on public television organized by the 
documentary center at PBS. Other panelists in- 
cluded producer St. Clair Bourne, Chris Fen- 
nimore, director of scheduling at WNET, Nancy 
Boggs of the Ford Foundation, and moderator 
John Reilly, founder of Global Village. 

Christian identified the problem as one of 
presentation, not subject matter. She pointed 
out that stations do not look favorably on point- 
of-view journalism. The panelists sparred over 
the definition of balance and fairness in pro- 
grams, which is certainly no new issue to in- 
dependents. But the resistance to works regard- 
ed as "point-of-view" or simply controver- 
sial — the category into which many indepen- 
dents are placed — seems to be strengthening. 
"There is a very dangerous movement out there 
among the stations," Fennimore warned. "We 
saw it recently at the PBS Program Fair, where, 
in the evaluation of programs, you'd hear people 
say, "How'd you like that program on canoeing?' 
'Oh, it's harmless enough. We'll take that one.'" 
Said Christian, "I think it's frustrating when you 
remember the days when we could say, 'OK, 
we're going to sit down and make America take a 
look at itself.'" 

Bourne stressed that independents should 
"join [in] a united front with other progressive 
forces to fight the swing to the right." A renewal 
of the "make public TV public" days? Said Fen- 
nimore, "It's urgent that there be some counter- 
movement, and a return to the original premise 
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But there were few concrete strategies for 
opening doors to independent programs, or even 
for making carriage work for the few programs 
that get air time. From the audience, Carol 
Brandenburg, who was executive producer of 
the now-defunct Matters of Life and Death 
series, pointed out, "The basic problem you 
can't get around is that series are basic to public 
television. The difficulty now is how all these in- 
dividual specials will trickle into the schedule." 
With Matters of Life and Death and Crisis to 
Crisis gone, there currently exists no national 
vehicle for carrying independent works in a series 
format. According to Fennimore, WNET is able 
to stockpile single programs and produce 
"generic" openings, such as the well-received In- 
tercom documentary series. But most public 
television stations do not have the money to pro- 
duce wrap-arounds, nor do they have the re- 
sources to take the heat for a controversial pro- 
gram. 

Nancy Boggs was not optimistic about the re- 
sponse of the foundation community. She point- 
ed out that foundations are basically conser- 
vative, and many are unfamiliar with media is- 
sues. "Somehow the independent community 
hasn't gotten together and done its groundwork," 
said Boggs, noting that the community works in 
a "piecemeal" manner. She added, "You'll have 
do some educating." — RT 



NYSCA NAMES 

NEW MEDIA DIRECTOR 

Dai SO Kim-Gibson will replace John Giancola 
in late January as director of the Media Pro- 
gram at the New York State Council on the Arts. 
Giancola left the Council last summer to head a 
media progam at the University of Tampa. 

Kim-Gibson was formerly a program officer 
in the Media Program of the National Endow- 
ment for the Humanities, where she worked on 
numerous programs, including Vietnam: A 
Television History, Hard Choices, and The 
Good Fight. Before joining the Endowment, 
she was an associate professor of religious 
studies at Mount Holyoke College. Says Kim- 
Gibson, "I've always enjoyed working with in- 
dependent producers — that's been a special joy 
for me. They are unafraid of taking risks, they 
are daring in their work, and they are sensitive to 
the plurality and diversity of society. " — R T 



22 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/ FEBRUARY 1985 




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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1985 



THE INDEPENDENT 23 



FIELD REPORT 



THE PROBLEMS OF PLURALISM: AFI VIDEO FESTIVAL 



Sherry Millner and Ernest Larsen 

Much of the considerable success of the fourth 
National Video Festival, sponsored by the 
American Film Institute in Los Angeles last 
September, derived from its mood of in- 
clusiveness — an apparent desire on the part of its 
organizers not to be nationalist in their choices 
and definitely not to rely on "pure" video at the 
expense of television. Instead of a consistent 
and/or polemical focus on a few types of video, 
this festival demonstrated the variety of work be- 
ing produced. At times risking a tendency 
toward the over-stuffed, the festival, at its best, 
generated continual spill-overs of animated 
discussions in the halls and verandas of AFI. 

This density of exhibition — there were usually 
four programs beaming at the same moment — 
may itself be a polemic in favor of pluralism. 
Festivals are often pluralist in design, so it re- 
mains to be seen how much the choices of tapes 
and arrangement of programs tells us about the 
current varieties of video. For instance, the selec- 
tion seemed to imply that this is less a period of 
individual "masterpieces" than of groupings, of 
political and/or artistic tendencies, of small 
communities for which video is only provisional- 
ly defined in its use. This observation may be 
conditioned by the inclusion of so much work 
made for television — work keyed to the recep- 
tivity of fairly broad audiences. Certainly the 
main (though not total) divergence within the 
festival was between this work and artists' video. 

One of pluralism's seductions is that it's as 
roomy as a limousine. A critic with any par- 
ticular axe to grind can be sure to find one lying 
around on the well-carpeted floor, and can, 
without undue embarrassment, ignore all the 
other axes lying there as well. But although this 
particular limousine of a festival was fueled by 
Sony Corporation underwriting, it actually tend- 
ed to discourage the axe-wielder. There were at 
least 12 programs to discipline one's attention, 
providing a way to map the vast forest of over 
150 tapes from 15 countries. 

Questions of both form and content were car- 
ried from screening room to screening room, 
testing not only consciousness but some of the 
underlying assumptions of each program's more 
or less coherent view of video. This seemed to 
bear out festival director Jackie Kain's inten- 
tions: "We have organized the festival both ver- 
tically and horizontally . . . Juxtapositions, we 
hope, will not be perceived as random, but as 
purposeful — to draw out further the questions 
raised within the presentation." In response, we 
will try here to make a few cross-connections 
among the multitudinous presentations. We 



didn't see everything; what we did see we saw on- 
ly once. However, even to our strained eyes a few 
patterns were visible: certain interesting distinc- 
tions between collective work and individually 
made tapes, between work relying on relatively 
high production values and work made with 
relatively inexpensive equipment. 

In almost half the programs the terrain was 
public: among them, 1950s U.S. broadcast TV, 
Britain's Channel 4, advocacy television, and 
documentaries on Central America. Robert 
Rosen's presentation, "Television in Search of 
Itself: The 50s," featured clips — from a variety 
of early shows including Jack Benny and Ernie 
Kovacs — demonstrating an almost subversive 
liveliness and spontaneity, and a tropism for the 
unplanned, the disordered, and the outright 
mistaken. Rosen's catalogue critique of present- 
day television draws the contrast aptly: 

The omnipresence, repetition and predic- 
tability of broadcast television causes us to 
take its stylistic conventions largely for 
granted. The strategies used to structure 
sound, image, and narrative have become so 
familiar that they appear to be somehow 
"natural" to the medium. The full array of 
possibilities for an audio-visual language of 
television has been narrowed, over the 
course of time, to a commonly agreed-upon 
craft that we have learned to accept as self- 
evidently "correct." 

Broadcast television's dismissal of the concep- 
tually unlimited possibilities of live transmis- 
sions, in overwhelming favor of taped broad- 
cast, has quite obviously drained the electronic 
juice out of what was, briefly, an exciting 
medium. An argument could be made for raw- 
ness as a deliberate strategy in video production, 
a strategy that could allow participation by 
viewers now pushed into the role of couch 
potatoes by slick high-tech production values 
and equally slick narrated entertainment. 

It is both instructive and chilling to con- 
sider — in light of this festival's attempt to render 
the gaps in and the alternatives and resistances to 
"real" TV — the program entitled "Point 
Counterpoint," presented by Peter Broderick. 
Apart from excerpts from longer advocacy pro- 
grams, this was a lightning-fast barrage of one- 
minute advocacy spots on dozens of issues — for 
and against a nuclear freeze, gay rights, abor- 
tion, gun control. Briskly clarified, with the aid 
of Broderick's comments, was the extent to 
which television no longer addresses us as 
political entities but as consumers, even when 
political persuasion is the aim. When con- 
sumerism swallows politics, politics literally 
disappears in favor of good digestion, oral 



hygiene, and regular professional care. The 
substance of issues, already too starkly 
stereotyped by the print media, is reduced to a 
toothsome nugget by TV adverts— and the will- 
ing electorate to a somnolent nullity. Suppose, 
neverthless, that we want to realistically respond 
to the enormous influence of these ads — would 
realism mean fighting video fire with video fire? 
It's got to be a losing fight, given the right wing's 
bottomless reserves of oil-saturated dough. 

Britain's Channel 4, now only about two years 
old, represents a partial response to the "nar- 
rowness" of conventional television that Rosen 
documented and that political commercials ex- 
ploit. Chartered to "appeal to tastes and in- 
terests not generally catered to" and to en- 
courage experiment in form and content, Chan- 
nel 4 is already doing some of its own political 
narrowing. Even so, the tapes shown here were 
far more adventurous than seems possible, on 
U.S. public TV. All tapes are independently pro- 
duced, with Channel 4 acting as their 
"publisher," in the words of curator John 
Wyver. Some of these tapes — the 155-minute 
1980: A Piece by Pina Bausch, for instance — are 
guaranteed to give a contact high to culture 
freaks. And an episode of Visions Cinema, 
directed by Chris Petit, explored the work of 
Wim Wenders with some of the devotion an 
acolyte might pay to the epistles of Saint Paul. 
Just as we were about to come down with creep- 
ing culture sickness, on came Video Box. t A 
working-class woman with an interracial toddler 
in her lap delivers a one-minute rap on 
television's exploitation of racial stereotypes. 
Four teenagers cluster together and sing, a 
capella, a one-minute tune they've made up in 
response to a program they've seen the previous 
week. Ordinary people (we'd say "real people" 
but that's been pre-empted), not spokespeople, 
making their own claims without carnival media- 
tions of announcer, or hokey program design, or 
more subtle intimidations of technology. In the 
end, what should be an obvious use of televi- 
sion — individual access for individual points of 
view — seems like a series of one-minute com- 
mercials for radical subjectivity. Here Kain's in- 
tentions are gratifyingly fulfilled: one can hardly 
fail to contrast Video Box with the political com- 
mercials. 

Ian Breakwell's Continuous Diary is a quirky, 
intermittent series of programs with lengths 
suitable for each segment, not for standard time 
slots. While one tape shot in a local restaurant is 
little more than some wry thoughts on waiting 
for a meal (like Andy Rooney with grit), another 
piece concerned Breakwell's father, a factory 
worker hard hit by the failure of the British 
economy. The direct relationship of personal 



24 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/ FEBRUARY 1985 



history to social history is demonstrated 
visually — in a sometimes shorthand, sometimes 
rambling adherence to the diary form — replete 
with painful contradictions that may take a 
generation to comprehend, rather than a lesson 
to be learned at a sitting. 

Pluralism tends to regard all social contradic- 
tions as equal contenders in the marketplace of 
ideas. Channel 4's position as impartial broker 
for the voices of the underrepresented typifies 
both the advantages and disadvantages of this 
position. Perhaps the strongest argument for the 
best of Channel 4's diverse programs is advanced 
by Raymond Williams in an interview that 
prefaces the festival catalogue. In speaking 
about TV coverage of the English miners strike, 
Williams says, 

There's something about the physical image 
of the working miners which separates them 
both from their officials and their 
employers; the great gain of television is that 
it enables you to see that difference. 
However, those opportunities are dimin- 
ishing, and the quality of information is 
deteriorating because the media-event, ar- 
ranged for spectacle and visual quality, tends 
to blot out the more significant but more 
everyday image, and spokesmen are much 
easier to get and much more willing to talk 
than the people who could speak up for 
themselves. 

Here is a radically democratic concept that in- 
volves, in Williams's view, not just the authen- 
ticity of direct representation but also what he 
calls a necessity for a different kind of "finish" 
in video production — an abandonment of rela- 
tively high-cost production values. This would 
release money and energy for a diversity of 
cheaper, less studio-bound, and more immediate 
productions rooted in heterogeneous com- 
munities. 

Some of these ideas resurfaced at a panel 
discussion, organized by Jump Cut's Julianne 
Burton and Downtown Community Television's 
Karen Ranucci, "Nicaragua and El Salvador: 
Art and Activism, Urgency and Ethics." 
Augusto Tablado, supervisor of the video 
branch of Midinra, Nicaragua's national 
agrarian reform program, articulated a similarly 
politicized view of video production in his coun- 
try: "We want to give the word back to the 
people — the right to speak denied the people by 
the Somoza government for 50 years." In his 
view, this applies not only to video production 
but to its distribution as well. Video's capacity 
for instant and repeatable playback, the pocket- 
size portability of tapes, and the common 
tendency in villages for collective reception (a TV 
set hung on a tree and powered by a gas 
generator) promote the conditions for dialogue 
instead of passive reception. This point has all 
the more force where generations of cultural 
represssion and censorship determine the 
historical situation. 



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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1985 



THE INDEPENDENT 25 




Robert Rosen discussed clips from '50s TV, including "Pete Hunter, Private Eye," in his 
presentation, "Television In Search of Itself," at the AFI Video Festival. 



The overwhelming need for national self- 
expression does not mean that individual self- 
expression should be swamped in the process. 
Tablado showed a clip from Que pasa con el 
papel higienico? (What's Happening with the 
Toilet Paper?), a tape examining reasons for 
fouled-up distribution of this scarce, indispen- 
sable consumer item. One citizen after another 
offers differing arguments, successively criticiz- 
ing paper factory employees, middlemen, and 
the government. This multiplication of view- 
points is not only democratic, but provides a 
sense of the many-sided complexity of one tissue 
(pun intended) of daily life. 

As soon as a by-now dazed festival-goer moved 
from the presentations of collectively-produced 
work to the variety of art video programs (a 
good many grouped under the elastic rubric 
"From the Narrative"), the conventions of a 
second (art video) history came into play. Some 
these conventions have regrettably become 
somewhat lifeless. For instance, one must now 
be very patient or asleep to put up with much 
image-processed video. There was an almost 
universal recourse to slow motion — used 
whether or not there was any reason to analyze 
movement within the frame. It became difficult 
not to mock this suddenly fashionable, or 
perhaps just suddenly accessible, trick, which is 
hard to justify except as an unmistakable 
signature of artiness. Maybe it attests to a 



fascination with technical possibilities — gimme 
that high-tech religion! More importantly, such 
conformity tends to limit the range of expression 
instead of diversifying it. 

At a suitably flakey music video panel discus- 
sion (attended, it appeared, by half of L. A.), the 
most pleasant moment came when an inane, 
soft-core, s&m ditty-video, directed by Beth B, 
was roundly booed. A separately presented but 
related category could be designated video with 
music. Aurally sumputous, Kit Fitzerald's 
Return of the Native (music by Peter Gordon) 
organizes a musical soundtrack around the 
chapter titles of Thomas Hardy's novel, and a 
kind of coherence is maintained by the conceit. 
The visuals are technically polished but so 
spineless you could break your back trying to 
maintain some connection between the sunny 
pastorale of the Irish countryside and Hardy's 
gloomy determinist novel set in Dorset, 
England. The befuddled audience, at first struck 
dumb by this rather opulent production, could 
only stammer out an inquiry' to Fitzgerald about 
the availability of the soundtrack album. 

Dan Graham's Rock My Religion, also a 
music tape of sorts, looked as if it was edited with 
a coffee grinder. Watching this attempt to estab- 
lish the nature of rock ecstasy via the Shaker re- 
ligion, we kept rooting for Graham to get it to- 
gether. However, ultra-cheap production should 
not mean glitches wider than your living room 
couch and a sound mix with less fidelity than a 



drive-in movie speaker. Return of the Native 
looks better and sounds better but lacks 
Graham's intellectual verve. 

The British Framed Youth: Revenge of the 
Teenage Perverts, shot and edited by members 
of the Lesbian and Gay Youth Video Project, 
fairly bubbles over with the kids' determination 
to get their experiences — coming out, parental 
reactions, violence, love and sex — on tape 
without adult mediation. Their palpable convic- 
tion that transparent emotional honesty will 
somehow carry the day ends up doing just that. 
A sense of collective autobiography, which 
videotape in its accessibility can afford much 
more directly and immediately than film, so in- 
forms the sexual politics here that straight au- 
diences would be hard put to ghettoize sexuality 
so glibly in the future. 

Probably no tape at the festival was as warmly 
received as Gary Hill's Why Do Things Get in a 
Muddle?, a very clever reworking of a Gregory 
Bateson "metalogue." Hill painstakingly train- 
ed his actors to speak their lines in reverse. Thus, 
in reverse motion, the actors seem to be speaking 
their lines directly. One side effect of this Marx 
Brothers procedure is that the actors seem to 
speak English with a stage Swedish accent. The 
tape's blithe violation of the notion of time's ir- 
reversibility has several other such unexpected 
benefits which enrich a mise-en-scene that is also 
cheerfully dotty. Illogic and order begin to seem 
like allies. But the audience seemed more im- 
pressed by the technical tour deforce than by its 
representation of Bateson 's ideas. Does vir- 
tuousity in its alluring chinklessness preclude 
other than a surface fascination and work to pre- 
vent a dialogue with its audience instead of pro- 
voking one? 

Der Riese (The Giant), by West German film- 
maker Michael Klier, was perhaps the most 
unsettling experience of the festival. Der Riese 
resituated video directly in the area of its most 
widespread use: as surveillance. Instead of being 
watched by the omniscient video camera (wher- 
ever secreted: shopping mall, boat, hallway, sex 
shop, conning tower — choose your poison), we 
become the watchers, the aggressors, implicated 
for the duration of the experience in the univer- 
sal proscription of free (because unmediated) 
behavior. As the camera steadily, starkly, in- 
humanly proceeds across a prospect of daily life, 
we feel we are at the scene of a crime; but it's as if 
the crime we witness is everyday life itself. This 
surveillance tape encourages, almost dictates, 
this conclusion without itself uttering a word of 
narration or voiceover. In one extraordinary sec- 
tion, shot in closeup, the features of one face 
after another are comically distorted by a police 
criminal identification machine as a metaphor 
for the physiognomy of social control. 

The Mark Goodson Screening Room, where 
many U.S. premieres were screened, is sizable 
and luxurious. Six monitors are evenly spaced 
around it. Each viewer would automatically 
watch the closest monitor; from the front, the 



26 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/ FEBRUARY 1985 



audience looked more like six audiences watching 
six different tapes. This clash of sightlines pro- 
duced a false impression of fragmentation. But 
the festival as a whole felt fragmented only in 
relation to the art tapes. Perhaps this is in- 
evitable, but the lack of organized presentations 
and panel discussions contributed to the sense 
that discourse on this work is either unnecessary 
or so undeveloped as to be pointless. The first 
suggestion is absurd, and the second refuted by 
the relatively high level of articulation in every 
cluster encountered following the screenings. 
Isn't such response the main reason why we 
make the work in the first place? 

Even the festival catalogue reflects the organ- 
izational lack — with art and/or narrative tapes 
receiving little if any contextual evaluation. This 
happens when pluralism, with its live-and-let-live 
bias, abdicates the political and aesthetic im- 
perative to relate individuals' work to each other 
and to their audiences (in other words, to the 
larger collectivity) and to create a discourse that 
could provide corrective inspiration both to art- 
ist and audience. The absence of such discourse 
helps explain why so many tapes flounder in a 
formalist miasma. 

This crucial objection aside, the fourth Na- 
tional Video Festival was not only large, am- 
bitious, and involving — it worked. Every tape 
was shown twice; if you still missed something, 
arrangements could be made to screen it private- 
ly. The breadth of material was astonishing: 
substantial surveys of Japanese, Native Ameri- 
can, and U.S. student video, a number of not 
even slightly Stalinist Eastern European tapes 
(including an episode of Miklos Jansco's 
Faustus Faustus Faustus), two episodes of Boys 
from the Blackstuff, a British social realist 
drama on unemployed workers, and, at a side- 
bar screening, a full roster of Barbara London's 
selection of narrative tapes. And on and on. In 
this case surfeit was bracing, bearing out Kain's 
intentions, and testifying to the enormous 
organizational resources of the festival staff. 



Sherry Millner is a film and videomaker current- 
ly teaching at the California Institute of the Arts. 
Ernest Larsen is a fiction writer currently teach- 
ing at University of California/San Diego. Both 
are associate editors of Jump Cut. 

©Sherry Millner and Ernest Larsen 1985 

JANUARY/ FEBRUARY 1985 



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THE INDEPENDENT 27 



association of INDEPENDENT VIDEO AND FILMMAKERS, inc 



Debra Goldman 



Defining the term "independent" is a treach- 
erous task, and the formulas used are tradi- 
tionally negative. An independent is a producer 
who is not affiliated with a corporation. An in- 
dependent is someone who works outside the 
marketplace. An independent is a creator whose 



Connect 
to the 
Independent 
Community 

Join Al VF 



vision represents an alternative to mass enter- 
tainment. The term is also something of a mis- 
nomer. For whether raising money to shoot and 
edit, or finding outlets through which to reach a 
public, independents must come to terms with 
their dependence on social forces. 

The creation of a place in our culture for 
media that is alternative without being marginal, 
imbued with values distinct from mass entertain- 
ment while still attracting an audience, is the 



paradoxical purpose of the Association of In- 
dependent Video and Filmmakers, now in its 
tenth year. The organization's history, stretching 
from the last communal days of the countercul- 
ture to the hyperindividualism of Ronald 
Reagan's America, tells the story of a collective 
balancing act between these dual priorities. 
AIVF's evolving institutional character presents 
yet another paradox: the attempt to represent a 
working community whose only common de- 
nominator is the individualism of its members. 

The unwitting godfather of the Association of 
Independent Video and Filmmakers was the 
United States Department of Labor which, in 
the early seventies, was funneling money 
through the Department of Education to retrain 
workers who had been displaced by the changing 
economy. John Culkin, director of New York 
University's Center for Understanding Media, 
successfully engineered a proposal designed to 
channel some of these dollars to independent 
media makers with the ostensible purpose of 
making them employable. Money in hand, it 
then became a matter of finding someone who 
could rally the New York community of in- 
dependents, whose presence was palpable but 
whose dimensions were unknown. 

Culkin 's associate at the center, Bob Geller, 
and friend, producer Ted Timreck, knew just the 
guy: cameraman Ed Lynch. From a family of 
West Virginia preachers, Lynch was known 
among his friends for what Amalie Rothschild 
called his "evangelical" style. "They knew my 
predilection for talking people into things," 
Lynch explains. Timreck and Geller introduced 
Lynch to Culkin, who arranged for Lynch to re- 
ceive a small stipend while he went out into the 
community to spread the word. 

Culkin's original notion was the establishment 
of a foundation, along the organizational lines 
of the American Film Institute, but which would 
offer resources to the very independent media 
makers whom the AFI had thus far steadfastly 
ignored. Lynch said he "was perfectly happy to 
start any kind of organization, because I figure 
you start talking to people and you form the kind 
of organization that people want to form." He 
began contacting friends and found that "none 
of the people I talked to wanted any part of 
anything that they didn't have everything to say 
about." Lynch proved to be as good as his 
reputation, and, in early 1974, when the first 
public meeting was called, more than 100 people 
showed up to have their say. 

From the first gathering, "it was high 
energy," founding board member Marc Weiss 
recalls. "Millions of things could happen. There 
was a sense that we were discovering each other 
and the feeling was, 'Let's find out what we can 



28 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/ FEBRUARY 1985 



create for each other.' Self-interest and social in- 
terest were happening at the same time." Large, 
voluble assemblies devoted to a collective cause 
were familiar turf to the group, many of whom 
had come of age in the sixties attending dozens of 
such meetings for a variety of political causes. 
Now they turned this activist energy to a cause of 
their own. "Somebody would say, 'Hey, we 
need blah-blah-blah,' and everybody would say, 
'Okay, go ahead and organize it."' Soon there 
were committees dedicated to cable, self-dis- 
tribution, and membership, while dozens of in- 
dividuals began organizing screenings and 
presentations on their own. Weiss remembers 
that "people were hungry" for exposure, feed- 
back, and information. 

All this spontaneous activity needed was a leg- 
al form. Lynch invited fellow filmmakers Mar- 
tha Coolidge and Ed Emshwiller to join him as 
incorporators, and in July 1974 a meeting was 
called to discuss the by-laws and principles of the 
Association of Independent Video and Film- 
makers, drawing a large crowd. The board was 
then chosen: Lynch, Emshwiller, Coolidge, 
Weiss, Rothschild, Phil Messina, and Robert 
Bordiga. At Emshwiller's urging, Lynch, whose 
self-described "insanity" had sparked the whole 
enterprise, was voted president. 

The activities of the newly official AIVF con- 
tinued at a feverish pace. Not a Wednesday passed 
without a business meeting, a screening, or a 
presentation. The board convened weekly. With 
the exception of Lynch, everyone was a volun- 
teer, and even Lynch's stipend in no way matched 
the 24-hour a day commitment he poured into the 
organization. Yet, according to Rothschild, the 
lack of money was more than compensated for 
by the fun, whether it was the post-board 
meeting game of pool at a nearby Tribeca 
restaurant or the Sunday screening parties at 
Ellen Hovde's loft, which evolved into a quasi- 
official AIVF activity. 

Ed Lynch's peers unanimously credit his in- 
cendiary spirit as a major source of the upbeat, 
social energy of the early Association; they 
describe him as a "sparkplug" and "igniter." 
"Independent Cinema Lives!" proclaimed the 
title of a two-day festival organized by AIVF in 
late 1975, and Lynch strove to bring that celeb- 
ratory exclamation point to all of AI VF's activi- 
ties. Weiss said, "He really created a sense of ex- 
citement that as a group we were able to do 
things we were never able to do before, and that 
we should take every opportunity to celebrate 
ourselves." 

"I've never disagreed that we had some of the 
hot stuff," commented Lynch, "but I would say 
it had more to do with the period of time, and 
everybody's energy and age. " AIVF was exciting 
because it happened "in the context of the move- 
ment" — it was, in fact, one of the last institu- 
tional flowers of that movement. AIVF was not, 
however, a political organization, and as long as 
it was buoyed by the general momentum of the 
culture, it did not have to be. The luxury of the 



era, Lynch observed, was that "because you 
were part of a movement, you didn't have to 
worry [about] whether you were right or not." 
The politics of the group were reflected, not in an 
explicit political program, but in its organiza- 
tional lifestyle, in the atmosphere of "activism, 
idealism, and communal sharing" which, in 
Rothschild's words, animated the Association's 
early members. 

Nevertheless, a political identity clung to 
AIVF, so that despite its avowed openness to 
every kind of media maker, in practice it was 
dominated by social documentarians working in 
film. "In the sixties, the passion which brought 
people into film was art," said Emshwiller, one 
of the few experimental filmmakers to take an 
early active role. "In this period, it was politics." 
He attempted to draw his art film friends into the 
group, but "they just didn't feel like they be- 
longed in a political organization." Video, in 
spite of its prominent place in the Association ti- 
tle, also suffered from a lack of attention. One 
problem was that many video documentarians in 
this period also worked in film and thought of 
themselves primarily as filmmakers, while the 
video artists felt the same estrangement from the 
organization as the film avant garde. "We 
welcomed any individual caring enough to take 
the initiative and put a project together. We 
wasted an awful lot of meeting time because of 
our concern to serve a whole panoply of 
interests," said Rothschild. "But ultimately it was 
the politically motivated people who had the most 
energy, passion, and commitment." 

AIVF was only a few months old when events 
in Washington drew the organization into a 
political battle. The six-year-old American Film 
Institute was receiving a large percentage of the 
National Endowment for the Arts' media dol- 
lars; yet except for the grant-giving Independent 
Filmmaker Program, the Institute barely ac- 
knowledged the existence of independent media. 
In 1975, led by aging matinee idols like Gregory 
Peck, the AFI attempted to convince Congress 
to make the Institute a line item in the NEA 
budget, and therefore not subject to yearly 
review by the Endowment. If AFI succeeded, it 
would become the sole recipient of government 
media funds, an alarming prospect for hundreds 
of artists and dozens of incipient media institu- 
tions beyond the borders of Hollywood. Lynch 
began rallying the troops to lobby against the 
West Coast glitterati. In fact, the campaign was 
so absorbing that the board cautioned, "When 
getting in touch with people around the country, 
be sure to stress that AIVF is not a one-issue 
organization (anti-AFI)." The fight concluded 
in classic David-and-Goliath fashion: AFI lost 
its bid for guaranteed access to the arts budget. 

That same year, United States copyright laws, 
which had stood on the books virtually unchanged 
for over a half-century, were being revised to 
reflect the realities of postwar technologies like 
photocopying and videotape. The National 
Education Association succeeded in writing into 



law a special exemption giving public schools the 
right to copy books, films, and tapes at no cost. 
Yet what seemed on its face to be a reasonable 
cost-saving measure for tax-supported educa- 
tional institutions could, in fact, deprive pro- 
ducers and distributors of their livelihood. For 
many AIVF members, the educational market 
was a major source of income, and the organiza- 
tion joined forces with other audiovisual trade 
organizations to strike the measure from the bill. 
"We explained to legislators that the provision 
would destroy the private educational program- 
ming marketplace, and that the void created 
would have to be filled by government," said 
Rothschild, who vividly remembered two days 
of intense lobbying. Congress soon realized that 
what seemed like a public-spirited moneysaving 
measure had a hidden price tag of alarming pro- 
portions. The educators went down in defeat, 
and AIVF, barely a year old, now had two con- 
crete victories, vindicating Lynch's "together we 
can do it" rhetoric. 

Closer to home, the Association was busy or- 
ganizing projects designed to assist media 
makers in their daily practice. The articulated 
purpose of the organization was to empower the 
membership through shared information and at 
the same time to create resources so that in- 
dividuals could test their expressive powers on 
ever higher ground. For some, the latter meant 
moving from documentary into fiction features. 
As Lynch recalled, many people involved in 
documentary work did not choose "between 
three or four different film projects that they 
could make. It was just— this is it." There was 
a strong feeling that AIVF should help create dif- 
ferent creative opportunities, said Lynch, who 
was becoming interested in making the organiza- 
tion a force in production. He and member Peter 
Barton organized the Screenwriters' Workshop 
The goal, according to Lynch, was to create a 
number of scripts which he himself hoped to 
produce. At the same time, member Alice 
Spivak began putting energy into a Directors' 
Workshop. "These workshops were very, very 
important." remarked Weiss, "because they 
were the first opportunity people had to get these 
kinds of skills." 

Like all of AIVF's work at the time, these 
were volunteer efforts. Yet a continuing stream 
of concrete accomplishments kept the activist 
energy alive. Perhaps the most dramatic example 
was the creation of Independent Creative Artists 
and Producers (ICAP), which grew out of 
AIVF's cable committee; it was organized by 
Charles Levine, one of the few experimental 
filmmakers active in the membership. "Nar- 
rowcasting" was not yet a communications in- 
dustry buzzword, but it was key to Levine's vi- 
sion of cable's potential for independents. His 
hopeful notion was that somewhere on that 
100-channel cable dial of the future was a slot for 
independent media. In the meantime, the commit- 
tee, concentrating on more immediate oppor- 
tunities, put feelers out to Home Box Office, the 



JANUARY /FEBRUARY 1985 



THE INDEPENDENT 29 



then- fledgling pay movie channel with 10,000 
subscribers, to test its interest in programming 
independent shorts. In March 1975, the cable 
committee reported to the board that "Robin 
Ahrold of Home Box Office wants to deal with 
an organization that gives him direct access to 
filmmakers. An exploratory meeting is sug- 
gested and then a group of filmmakers will form 
and make their own deal." HBO supplied a little 
start-up money, and ICAP began its life as an in- 
dependent organization. 

ICAP was a small part of a fairly grandiose 
plan. The next stage of what became known as 
the Cable Project was a collaboration with an in- 
teractive cable system in Columbus, Ohio. But 
such a daunting enterprise needed considerable 
financial backing, as did a variety of other AI VF 
projects. Moreover, it was clear that the active 
members, all with personal cash flow problems, 
could not continue pouring free labor into the 
organization indefinitely. Said Lynch, "We 
finally came back to Culkin's original concept of 
a foundation," which could solicit grant money. 
The result, the Foundation for Independent 
Video and Film, was established in January' 1975 
as a distinctly separate, non-membership organ- 
ization, although its board was identical with 
AIVF's. 

The Association's first year had yielded not 
one but three organizations: AIVF, FIVF, and 
ICAP. Yet even as the Association was multiply- 
ing its activities and accomplishments, the 
"spirit" "of the community was shifting. The 
period of peak energy which the old guard 
remembers so fondly was short-lived; by the end 
of 1975, the days in which large crowds flocked 
to business meetings were over. In the spring of 
1976, the board framed the upcoming general 
membership meeting with the title, "Is There a 
Needfor AIVF?" Inalist of suggested questions 
sent to the membership prior to the meeting, 
"energy" was the buzzword: "How can we 
structure AIVF to get more energy? What can 
we do better to get you and keep you involved 
and interested, and get some of your energy?" 

Flagging activist commitment ' was not the 
problem of AIVF alone; it was endemic to the 
entire alternative movement. It was becoming 
evident that the organization could no longer 
float on the tide of a broad cultural consensus, as 
social activists of all stripes were returning to 
private life. The quiescence of the membership 
was one symptom. Another was the "sense of 
urgency being over, and a need to define the 
Association's role as a political force" that some 
members expressed to Coolidge. What would be 
the fate of the alternative vision of independent 
media makers without an alternative culture to 
support them? 

During this same period a rift was developing 
between Lynch and the rest of the board. Lynch 
was labelled the "visionary" of AIVF — but his 
vision w as increasingly at odds with the collective 
decision-making process by which the organiza- 
tion was run. Rothschild, while never doubting 



"Ed's purity of motives in organizing AIVF," 
said that the board grew more and more exas- 
perated with with what she termed his "authori- 
tarian, secretive" style, which she saw as the flip 
side of his evangelical fervor. Purity, however, was 
not a big concern for Lynch, who says he chafed 
under the obligation imposed by "the left, where 
everything had to be in the open." A certain 
amount of secret dealing, he believed, was in- 
dispensable to the exercise of power — power he 
wanted for the organization, and, it was thought 
by some, for himself. Lynch does not deny his 
secretiveness. Looking back on the Association's 
early years, he remarked half-facetiously, "We 
should have launched a coffee shop or 
restaurant. We never really admitted that, like 
any good subculture, we had to have a restaurant 
with a backroom." The backroom was Lynch's 
chosen turf. 

Lynch believed that the shortest and most ef- 
fective route to legitimacy for independents was 
through the production of great films, and he 
saw the Foundation as a vehicle to get the funds 
to make them happen. Within a few months of 
AFI's legislative defeat at the hands of AIVF, the 
Institute "unofficially" approached the Foun- 



public" — wanted broader and more assured ac- 
cess to the system. Lynch saw control of the 
Ford/NEA money as a means toward these 
goals. "I wanted to broker that money for a new 
relationship between independents and [PTV] 
stations." 

Lynch's conviction was fueled by AIVF's past 
experience with public television. This was the 
period in which stations like WNET had so 
much money that, Lynch said, "They were car- 
peting the walls. They were not receptive to in- 
dependents. We always had to beg for meetings 
with them. They never really wanted to officially 
enter into conversations with us, because that 
would be like admitting that AIVF was a profes- 
sional trade association to be dealt with." It was 
therefore crucial to keep these funds out of sta- 
tion hands. 

The board remained resistant. Lynch, however, 
says he "took a very strong position. I said we 
must go after the money." He was determined to 
do so "whether it was done through the Associa- 
tion or not. So I think people felt a little angry' 
and upset, because they thought I was 
blackmailing them." They did. Ultimately, said 
Rothschild, the board, "gave in" to Lynch 



^1 


MP* 


J? 






The first Indie Awards, presented in March 1976. 



dation, offering it control of the Independent 
Filmmaker Program. "They offered it as a kind 
of conciliatory gesture, because we sort of had 
them on the ropes," said Lynch. But there was 
strong sentiment on the board that administering 
such a grant program would be divisive. "We 
didn't want to be in the position of choosing one 
filmmaker over another," explained Rothschild. 

Another opportunity to gain control of pro- 
duction dollars came in 1976, when the Ford 
Foundation and NEA announced that they were 
jointly making S500,000 available for the pro- 
duction of independent documentaries to be 
broadcast on public television. The right to the 
producing entity was up for grabs, and it was 
supposedly an open question whether the money 
would be administered from inside or outside the 
public television system. 

The independent community was already well 
aware of how important public television was to 
its future in terms of dollars and exposure. In the 
late sixties and early seventies, a small number of 
producers had established relationships with 
PTV, but independents — who felt that as 
unaffiliated individuals, they were "the 



because they felt "there wasn't much of a chance 
that we'd get the money." They didn't. FIVF, 
Global Village, and Media Study/Buffalo lost 
out to WNET. The Independent Documentary 
Fund would be administered by a station within 
the system. 

Lynch felt the loss of the documentary money 
was a "big, big, big missed opportunity" for 
public television and independents. Moreover, 
his relations with the board continued to be 
strained. "People said to me, 'Don't fool 
yourself. There's a big difference between being 
a bureaucrat and an organizer. An organizer is a 
different kind of animal, and you're finished 
with that phase.'" In 1977, he decided not to run 
for board president and was succeeded by Ting 
Barrow. Six months later, a short letter appeared 
in AIVF's mimeographed newsletter, in which 
Lynch announced that he would not be running 
for the board again. The note contained all the 
obligatory sentiments of continuing support for 
the organization and satisfaction that it was in 
"good hands." But Lynch could not refrain 
from taking a parting shot, adding cryptically, 
"I still believe in a philosophically correct in- 



30 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1985 



dependent movement." It was one last crack 
from the backroom. 



Lynch's departure meant that the organization 
would have to confront the problem of its own 
administrative structure. At a fall 1976 meeting, 
the board considered creating an executive direc- 
tor who would be responsible for the organiza- 
tion's direction. But at the time, sentiment ran 
against the idea, and the board remained the 
locus of power. In the absence of a charismatic 
leader and in the face of declining membership 
involvement, the years 1977-78 marked the peak 
of the board's control over the organization. 

The more far-reaching issue facing AIVF, 
however, was its political identity. The conflicts 
between Lynch and the board were, in fact, 
"political," representing two different concepts 
of power. Of what did real power consist? In 
whom should it be invested? How should it be 
used? The choices made by AIVF at the time 
were gestures back toward the sixties ideals of 
collective decision-making and organizational 
democracy which were the wellspring of the 
organization. The effect of those choices was to 




reaffirm the "alternative" identity of in- 
dependents, and reinforce the notion that they 
"stood for" something. But what did they stand 
for? A vague half-articulated — and perhaps in- 
articulable — amalgam of values like individ- 
ualism and freedom of expression? Were they a 
band of cultural workers at war with the conven- 
tions of the media industry? Or with the whole of 
capitalism? Did they have to choose? 

Since its earliest days, the Association had a 
vocal contingent of "politicos." But according 
to Ted Timreck, who remained involved with 
AIVF through his friendship with Lynch and 
served as a board member in the late seventies, 
they were not typical of the membership. Orig- 
inally, he said, "The idea was an organization of 
artists. It didn't have to be political; certain peo- 
ple turned it into something political because 
they wanted that kind of struggle in their lives. But 
in the first meetings there was a feeling that this 
was a group of people on the verge of becoming 
great artists." Timreck claims that it was when the 
political types took the leadership role that the 
"organization lost its hopeful perspective." 

This ongoing tension came to a dramatic head 



soon after Lynch stepped down from the presi- 
dency. Ting Barrow's election to the office might 
well have been considered a victory for the poli- 
ticos. "He did a lot of free work for a lot of peo- 
ple," said Weiss, who with Barrow, had been a 
member of the political film group Mass Pro- 
ductions. 

Like many filmmakers, Barrow depended on 
freelance jobs for hire to make ends meet. And 
when he was approached by the South African 
government to work on Portfolio for Progress, a 
film they were producing to promote South Af- 
rica's "business climate," he took it on. "He did 
it very naively," observed Weiss. "I really don't 
think he understood what the significance of it 
was." 

Once word leaked out that Barrow was in- 
volved in the film, there were plenty of people 
ready to explain it to him. "People were 
shocked," Weiss recalled. AIVF received a letter 
from member Anne Boggan claiming that in- 
volvement in such a project was untenable for a 
president of AIVF. She wanted her letter 
published in the Association newsletter and re- 
quested that AIVF join the "New York Political 
Film Group" in a forum to discuss the issues 
raised. Many members were sympathetic to her 
reproach. According to Weiss, they believed that 
by "doing this work, Tmg was betraying the 
founding principles of AIVF." 

But at the the board meeting which considered 
Boggan's request, the majority of the board con- 
cluded that, in fact, Barrow had not betrayed the 
founding principles. For there was nothing in 
these principles regarding the kinds of films or 
tapes members and officers could or could not 
make. Longtime AIVF member DeeDee Halleck 
responded by pushing for a general membership 
meeting to discuss whether perhaps there should 
be. 

The board agreed to participate in the forum, 
as well as publish Boggan's request. In a reply, 
they stated, "We feel it would be difficult and 
possibly dangerous to sit in judgment of one 
another's morality or artistry. . .AIVF restricts 
itself from either endorsing or condemning the 
contents or aesthetics of any member's work." 
Barrow, too, responded briefly: "My participa- 
tion in the film was as a craftsman — as a camera- 
man and editor — not as a producer or director. I 
had no role in initiating the film." It was the sum 
total of his self-defense for the duration of the 
controversy, which dragged on for several 
months. 

Barrow would not resign. A meeting to con- 
sider his status was highly polarized. As Weiss 
remembers it, when the matter finally came to a 
vote, Barrow was not thrown out, "but it was 
close, very close." In Halleck 's version, there 
was one group of board and general members 
who were so hostile to what they saw as the 
forced politicization of AIVF that "they refused 
to even listen to the arguments. They took off 
for a bar across the street, and told their friends 
to come get them when it came time for a vote. 



And then they lost!" But at that point it was 
determined that there was not a quorum of 
members present, so Barrow stayed, ran again 
for the board later in the year, and was re- 
elected. But, according to Weiss, he was for the 
most part ostracized. In 1979 he left the 
organization, and eventually dropped out of the 
film scene altogether. Fellow board member 
Jane Morrison later speculated, "I don't think 
Tmg could ever quite understand how all this 
could have happened to him." 

The controversy continued into the spring, 
and the board postponed elections so that a 
meeting could be called to discuss AI VF's found- 
ing principles. Entitled "Economics and Prin- 
ciples," the meeting was described by Morrison 
as "almost a civil war. There were people who 
were uncomfortable with the attempt to legislate 
ethics, for there was a feeling that that can result 
in ridiculous laws, guidelines that are worse than 
the original problem." 

There were not enough members at the meet- 
ing to amend the principles of the organization, 
but several "sense of the meeting" votes were 
taken. The results indicated the members were, 
in fact, ambivalent about creating ethical guide- 
lines. Two motions, which passed easily, sought 
to amend the principles with language affirming 
the Association's support for "justice" in 
human relations "regardless of sex, religion, race, 
age, or class." Yet a third motion, supporting a 
media maker's right to "complete freedom of ex- 
pression in the choice and execution of his/her 
professional work" lost by only one vote. 

In a subsequent board meeting, a number of 
resolutions which became the official addenda to 
the principles were passed. They reflected the 
membership's desire to have it both ways. One 
"affirmed" AIVF's "respect for all," along the 
lines stated at the general membership meeting, 
while another "reaffirmed" freedom of expres- 
sion. A third underlined the Association's com- 
mitment "to help reduce the membership's 
dependence on the kinds of sponsorship which 
encourage the compromise of personal 
values" — an issue that many felt was at the heart 
of the Barrow incident. 

In the course of the furor over Barrow and the 
South African film, DeeDee Halleck 's visibility 
in the organization rose dramatically. At the next 
board election, Halleck received almost 300 
more votes than the second most popular candi- 
date, and became board president. Morrison 
ascribed the victory to a sense among "the peo- 
ple mad at Tmg" that Halleck would "renew the 
oeople's confidence in the moral fiber of the 
organization." And if there were people in the 
organization who were still ambivalent about 
AIVF's more explicit political stand, they found 
no sympathy for their viewpoint in Halleck, who 
said, "What does it mean to be independent? It 
means you don't work for a corporation. That 
you want to make something that comes from 
the heart, soul, aesthetic intuition, whatever. In 
this society, if you want to do that, you have to 



JANUARY/ FEBRUARY 1985 



THE INDEPENDENT 31 



be political. That is a political statement." In 
light of her margin of victory, she felt she had "a 
mandate to push the organization in the direc- 
tion 1 wanted it to go." 

One such direction was the reinforcement of 
AIVF's democratic tradition. "Know Your By- 
Laws!" trumpeted the first membership news- 
letter printed after Halleck's election. She in- 
sisted on letting the membership know the date 
and time of all board meetings in advance so they 
could attend if they wished. And she pushed for 
the publication of the Association's principles in 
the newsletter and in The Independent, which 
replaced the newsletter in 1978. 

Yet at the same time that Halleck was shoring up 
the mechanisms of democracy, other forces were 
pulling the organization in the opposite direc- 
tion, toward the creation of a centralized staff. 
The furor over Portfolio for Progress had pro- 
duced a rupture in the tradition of the elected 
president as the organization's leader and 
spokesperson. This was not viewed as a neces- 
sarily negative development. "Everyone iden- 
tified AIVF with Ed [Lynch]," said Morrison, 
"and we had to make the transition to a more 
solid administration, so that people would know 
that AIVF was not just Ed's idea." On a more 
practical level, the neutralization of Barrow in- 
evitably threw more responsibility on the organi- 
zation's single staffperson, Tom Lennon, who 
had served as administrative director since the 
fall of 1975. 

The necessity of bringing some administrative 
order to the organization was exacerbated by 
two new long-term projects with which FIVF be- 
came involved, the Short Film Showcase (SFS) 
and the Comprehensive Employment Training 
Act (CETA). Lennon described SFS as the pro- 
gram that "put us on the map." It was conceived 
by the NEA as a means of cultivating a theatrical 
audience for short films. The Endowment pro- 
vided funds to enlarge from 16 to 35mm a group 
of shorts selected by two screening panels; the 
filmmakers were to receive an honorarium, and 
the films would be distributed to theatrical ex- 
hibitors for free. NEA wanted FIVF to ad- 
minister the program, a responsibility which the 
organization readily accepted. "It was a feather 
in our cap," declared Lennon — as well as a 
dramatic shot in the arm financially, for the 
$100,000-plus of support money that NEA 
poured into the project more than doubled the 
AIVF/FIVF budget, as well as providing money 
for a full-time staffer. 

Two additional people joined the staff in 
1977, but even with this expansion, the CETA 
project, which also came on board that year, 
pushed the small administration to its limits. 
Through Lennon's connection with the Founda- 
tion for the Community of Artists, FIVF became 
involved in organizing around the issue of artists' 
access to CETA funds. Lennon said "it was quite 
a laugh" attempting to describe "artists" in 
terms that the Labor Department could com- 
prehend, but they succeeded. In 1977, FIVF was 



awarded 14 CETA positions. Eleven slots would 
be devoted to the Media Works Film/Video 
Pool, which would work for local community 
groups, while three would be for the pursuit of 
independent projects. Yearly salaries of $10,000 
were offered, which was $1,500 more than the 
CETA average. 

If the Short Film Showcase represented a 
quantum leap in prestige and funding for the 
organization, the CETA project made AIVF the 
object of intense interest within the community. 
CETA was "momentous" for the organization, 
claimed Lennon, because it meant "we had 
goodies to give out." At the same time, it was "a 
test: could we as a community act civilly in 
parcelling out these goodies? There were a lot of 
hungry people out there." And in taking on 
CETA the organization had assumed the re- 
sponsibility that it had heretofore resolutely 
avoided — picking and choosing among media 
makers. Mindful of the potential for controversy 
and divisiveness, an elaborate three-tier panel 
was constructed "in order to insure that there 
was no personal scratching of backs." One panel 
reviewed the 300 applications for the jobs, 
another screened applicants' work, and a third 
interviewed the 90 chosen candidates. 

Despite all these precautions, the final deci- 
sions provoked a letter of protest from a group 
of AIVF members questioning the fairness of the 
process. The subsequent "scandal," which made 
the SoHo News, revolved around Chris Choy of 
Third World Newsreel, who had made it 
through the panels but was not among the final 
14. Her exclusion, said Lillian Jimenez, who 
became Media Works administrator the follow- 
ing year, raised questions about the program's 
priorities. "After all, she was experienced, she 
was a woman, and she was Asian. Why didn't 
she get it?" Jimenez asked. 

In fact, Third World media makers were not 
much of a force within the organization at the 
time. "When I first started becoming involved 
with AIVF," recalled Jimenez, "my friends in 
the Latino community said to me, 'What are you 
bothering with them for? That's a white boys' 
network. They don't have anything to do with 
us.'" Despite Lennon's insistence that the selec- 
tion process was "rigorously fair," the protest 
did have an impact, for this controversy evolved 
simultaneously with the uproar over Barrow, 
and consciousness of racism within the organiza- 
tion reached a new high. Thus when selections 
were made for the 1979 CETA positions, there 
were several more minority film and videomak- 
ers among the chosen. Black camerawoman Jes- 
sie Maple, a member of the 1978 pool, was sub- 
sequently elected to the board. Choy is a current 
board member. And Jimenez has been board 
chair for the past three years. 

But the pressure the CETA program placed 
on AIVF's small overworked staff obscured its 
long-term effects and its role in opening the 
organization to minority producers. "The selec- 
tion process was a harrowing one for all," Len- 



non reported to the membership in a January 
1978 newsletter. "The office was besieged, all 
but overrun; it shook with phone calls: dis- 
tressed, irate, hopeful, disappointed." Ad- 
ministrative tasks included maintaining contacts 
with community organizations who were using 
the pool, keeping track of who was working on 
what, scrounging equipment. "There was no ad- 
ministrative money for this, and we were seen as 
a financial drain," claimed Jimenez. "Relations 
between the staff and the Media Works people 
were very bad. CETA became the stepchild of 
the organization." Lennon agreed that the com- 
plicated responsibilities of CETA were "too 
much, too soon" for AIVF, but added, "It made 
us grow up." It certainly made clear the need for 
a strong centralized administration. 



In January 1978, the board formally resolved to 
create the position of executive director, a central 
administrator who would be responsible not on- 
ly for the organization's day-to-day functioning, 
but actively involved in determining its develop- 
ment. A major break with AIVF's past, the deci- 
sion's impact has been unfolding for five years 
and spans the tenure of two directors, producer 
Alan Jacobs and Lawrence Sapadin, a labor 
lawyer. Jacob's year-and-a-half at the job was 
spent turning what was an organization "very 
much of the sixties, still a very communal sort of 
operation" into a professional arts institution of 
the seventies; Sapadin has had the subsequent 
task of securing AIVF's continuing existence 
during the Reagan years. 

Jacobs said that when he came on staff in 
1978, the organization was "still very New York- 
oriented, and still very much dominated by 
documentarians." Jacobs wanted to "open the 
organization up." In 1978 and 1979, several 
groups outside the city approached AIVF with 
the notion of becoming regional chapters, but 
the board was uncertain both as to "how we can 
know the needs of communities outside New 
York" as well as how the small, overstretched 
staff would administer such chapters. The alter- 
native was to directly seek individual members 
nationwide, so Jacobs organized a mailing to 
10,000 names, a project that Sapadin inherited 
mid-stream in 1980. The response was impress- 
ive: membership stood at little over 700 when 
Jacobs left the organization; within six months 
of Sapadin taking the post, it reached almost 
1400. 

But the question remained: how could AIVF 
serve members beyond the immediate geograph- 
ical reach of the New York office? Jacobs saw 
the answer in the Association newsletter. The 
first attempt to create a more ambitious publica- 
tion that would represent the organization to a 
wider public occurred in 1975. "The only pro- 
blem," wrote member Tom McDonough in his 
proposal for the publication he called Deep 
Truth, "is what are the running dogs of idealism 
who make up AIVF going to put in it?" The 



32 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1985 



"message" of Deep Truth, McDonough decid- 
ed, would be that "while AIVF is a film-and- 
video thing, it is also a personal and political 
thing." In 1976, AIVF received a $4,000 grant 
for the publication, now more soberly titled The 
Independent Gazette; later in the year it debuted 
in a respectable 30-page tabloid format "a la 
Rolling Stone, " featuring interviews, reviews, a 
report on the emergent ICAP, an account of the 
first Indie Awards banquet, and, as McDonough 
had promised in his proposal, "mystic- 
philosophical ruminations in the Lynchian 
mode." 

But the effort was too ambitious to sustain, 
the second issue never came out, and the 
organization returned to its modest 
mimeographed newsletter. By the time Jacobs 
became executive director, Bill Jones, a CETA- 
supported painter and photographer, had al- 
ready been contracted to transform the news- 
letter into The Independent. The magazine, 
first published at the end of 1978, was a rather 
grim-looking 12-page booklet, its pages tinted 
paper bag brown, and only slightly distinguish- 
able editorially from its newsletter predecessor. 
But Jacobs recognized the seed of a publication 
which could dramatically increase AIVF's 
usefulness to members nationwide. He created a 
separate funding category in the next grant pro- 
posal, and, with Jones, transformed the dull 
brown bulletin board into a "magazine," com- 
plete with logo and photographic cover. 

Further development of The Independent fell 
to Sapadin, who had pledged to the board that 
he would make the magazine come out regularly 
every month, an elusive goal in the publication's 
first year. His intention was to change The In- 
dependent from a "bland communicator" into a 
publication "with an editorial thrust" that could 
"influence the field as well as respond to it." In 
early 1982, Sapadin hired Kathleen Hulser as 
editor. She instituted regular columns and diver- 
sified the feature coverage to reflect the disparate 
needs of a now widespread "community," while 
expanding to a more conventional magazine for- 
mat. And she got the magazine out on time, 
every month. The Independent quickly became a 
central inducement to membership, especially 
for media makers outside New York. In 1984, 
under the editorship of Martha Gever, it was 
redesigned and increased its pages and advertis- 
ing revenues. 

ATVF hoped to not only expand quantitatively, 
but to diversify its activities as well. In 1979, 
Jacobs heard from a number of "old friends" 
who were trying to put together a support 
organization for feature filmmakers; he joined 
their meetings in Minneapolis and Los Angeles 
in an attempt to bring the incipient Independent 
Feature Project "into the fold" of AIVF. Jacobs 
offered the new project the support services of 
the Association, which became the collection 
point for the first IFP Market's films, as well as 
$1000 in financial assistance. His notion, as 



recorded in board meeting minutes, was that IFP 
"would be a project of our own — they would be 
included in our application for funds [although 
they] may have to raise funds for themselves." 

Despite Jacobs' efforts, the IFP organizers 
became wary of close ties with the Association. 
"I think they felt their needs were so specific, in 
terms of the dollars needed for feature produc- 
tion and distribution, that their interests would 
be diluted by the concerns of the organization at 
large," Jacobs speculated. IFP reluctance sparked 
in the board a "paranoia that IFP would divorce 
us after using us. It was decided that they should 
come to us, that they would soon discover our 
usefulness to them." But the IFP soon set up 
separate headquarters in New York, and subse- 
quently spawned a West Coast cousin with 
priorities substantially different from AIVF's. 

The IFP was not the only project that sent 
Jacobs, in his words, "flying around the coun- 
try" promoting AIVF as an institution of na- 
tional importance. In 1978, Brian O'Doherty of 
the NEA Media Arts Program offered the Foun- 
dation, already administering the Short Film 
Showcase, another job. He conceived of a na- 
tional organization which would bring together 
all the media arts centers in the country under 
one umbrella. NEA was offering $15,000 to be 
matched by the Rockefeller Foundation. Tom 



The 



GAZETTE 

Journal of Independent Film and Video Artists 




50c 



ASSOCIATION OF 

INDEPENDENT VIDEO AND FILMMAKERS, inc. 



Lennon, then top adminstrative staffer, or- 
ganized a 1979 conference in Minnewaska, New 
York, at which media arts administrators would 
flesh out the concept. Implementation fell to 
Jacobs, who sat on the planning committee, de- 
spite his doubts about the purpose of such an en- 
tity. "I just couldn't see creating another 
organization which would put service institu- 
tions in competition with the individual artists 
they were supposed to serve for the pathetic few 
funding dollars that existed," he said. Never- 
theless, it was hard to say no to the NEA and 
Rockefeller Foundation, and the group that 
gathered in Minnewaska decided that the con- 
cept was worth pursuing. A year later, the Na- 
tional Alliance of Media Arts Centers 
(NAMAC) was formally voted into existence at a 
second meeting in Boulder, Colorado. But the 
conflict of interest that Jacobs had foreseen 
soon surfaced. He returned to New York to 
report that the decision to exclude individual 
media makers from NAMAC had provoked a 



bitter fight and, with the support of the board, 
withdrew from taking any leadership role in the 
new organization 

"Jacobs was a very one-to-one, very glad- 
hand kind of guy," said Lillian Jimenez. "He 
was tremendously important in creating a na- 
tional profile for the organization." Yet his con- 
siderable social skills also caused some friction, 
particularly with those members of the board 
who were still less than enthusiastic about the ex- 
ecutive director role. Weiss, one of the last of the 
old guard active on the board, was especially in- 
censed when Jacobs joined the founding board 
of the Sundance Institute "without bothering to 
tell us." 

The American Film Institute board was another 
of Jacobs' platforms that caused controversy. 
AIVF was first given a seat on the AFI board in 
1977, another consequence of the legislative en- 
counter of 1975. The position had been tradi- 
tionally filled by the board president — first Bar- 
row and later Halleck. When Jacobs became 
director, Halleck reluctantly ceded the seat to 
him in response to general board sentiment that 
the executive director should be AIVF's most 
visible spokesperson. While Barrow's and 
Halleck's reports to the membership of their ex- 
periences at AFI read like dispatches from a 
deluxe but distant planet, Jacobs began de- 
veloping a working relationship with AFI's new 
director, Jean Firstenberg, who, he told the 
board, was "sympathetic" to independents' in- 
terests. Jacobs left AIVF m mid- 1980, but did 
not resign his seat at AFI. For almost a year after 
Jacobs's departure, the AIVF board tried to in- 
stall Sapadin in the AFI seat without success; 
when Jacobs at last left AFI, the AIVF seat 
vanished with him. 

In some ways, AIVF's increasing national 
visibility and legitimacy masked its internal 
weaknesses. When Sapadin became director in 
late 1980, he was surprised to find that ad- 
ministratively "the organization was totally ad 
hoc — no structures, no allocation, no staff 
responsibility in certain areas." Over the pre- 
vious three years, a staff of a half dozen (in- 
cluding CETA workers) had slowly but unsys- 
tematically coalesced. Over the next few years a 
process of staff specialization developed as the 
organization's programs and priorities emerged: 
the festival bureau, information services, screen- 
ings and seminars, membership, fiscal manage- 
ment and fundraising, The Independent's, ex- 
pansion. By the end of 1984, what had begun 10 
years before as volunteer activities had become 
the functions of a professional staff. 

Flipping through the pages of the different ver- 
sions of The Independent, one topic appears 
again and again: public television. It is fair to say 
that in the last five years, PTV has developed in- 
to a veritable obsession of the organization. In 
1975, the board worried that AIVF might ap- 
pear to be a one-issue, anti-AFI organization; in 
1978 the anxiety was that it might seem Like a 
one-issue, anti-PTV one. The event that 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1985 



THE INDEPENDENT 33 



galvanized AIVF's preoccupation with public 
television was the creation of the second 
Carnegie Commission in 1977. The public televi- 
sion system was then a decade old; Carnegie II 
was to evaluate its accomplishments and defi- 
ciencies and make recommendations for its 
future. 

The board's activist fervor was first kindled 
when A1VF learned that there was no indepen- 
dent representation on the commission. "Bill 
Movers was their idea of an independent," 
Halleck observed. The Association insisted on a 
special hearing dedicated to the concerns of in- 
dependent producers, as part of the series of 
meetings being held across the country. The 
resultant hearing, chaired by William McGill, 
then president of Columbia University and head 
of the commission, attracted 160 producers 
ready to testify. To add scope to AIVF's in- 
vestigation into the state of independent-PTV 
relations, board member Jeff Byrd created a 
survey which queried the membership on their 
past experiences with the system. 

Public television was due to come up for Con- 
gressional review the next year and the Carnegie 
Commission testimony was expected to loom large 
in the final legislative result. AIVF, now armed 
with its own Carnegie testimony, gathered its 
resources for a trip to Washington. "There were 
about six of us in the car," remembered 
Halleck. "We had the number of some people 
who were going to put us up, but when we called 
no one was home and we didn't know their ad- 
dress." Moreover, they had learned that all 50 
copies of testimony which they had brought for 
both the communications subcommittee and the 
press had to be deposited with Congress. So the 
group spent the evening before their Congres- 
sional debut "with no place to go, riding around 
Washington, looking for an open copy shop." 

But the substance of their lobbying testimony 
compensated for what they lacked as profes- 
sional lobbyists. While CPB president Robben 
Fleming "treated us like college students," as 
AIVF staffer Robin Weber said, the Congres- 
sional aides with whom the lobby made contact 
listened closely. Halleck, Ralph Arlyck, and 
Joan Shigekawa were among those who tes- 
tified, and the carefully cultivated aides "loved 
our testimony," declared Halleck. "We were 
taken very seriously as an authentic voice, and 
invited to testify again." 

The result of their testimony was that the new 
legislation contained a stipulation that a "sub- 
stantial" portion of public television program- 
ming funds be devoted to independently pro- 
duced programs. The subsequent Carnegie II 
report, A Public Trust, forcefully advocated an 
increased role for independents and fueled 
AIVF's sense of victory. But not all skepticism 
was diffused. The legislation talked about 
"substantial" funding for independents, but 
how much was substantial, and who decided? 
And while AIVF supported the "spirit and in- 



tent" of Carnegie II, a statement issued in 
response to its publication also warned that "Car- 
negie I had a lot of beautiful language, but its 
recommendations were not fully implemented." 

Every issue of The Independent reported new 
developments in the CPB effort to realize this 
new mandate — as well as documenting its re- 
luctance to cede any meaningful control over 
the programming process. Independents' sense 
of righteousness was reinforced by a December 
1979 letter to Fleming from Rep. Henry Wax- 
man (D-Cal.) which stated that "substantial" 
meant that 50% of program funds should go to 
independents. AIVF brought CPB officials face 
to face with members in a number of forums to 
which CPB responded with a mixture of placa- 
tion and resentment. The law said that CPB had 
to work with independents, but the corporation 
conceived of the relationship not as part of a 
"public trust" invested in them, but as an 
unwelcome intrusion on their institutional 
perogatives. There were angry exchanges be- 
tween CPB and producers over questions 
surrounding the panel process, editorial control, 
and the hoariest issue of all: who is an "indepen- 
dent"? Producer Peter Adair expressed the sen- 
timents of many members when he admitted, 
"I'm torn between seeing you CPB people as the 
enemy or as the only friends I have." 

Jacobs resigned at the very time that CPB for- 
mally announced proposed guidelines for the 
"Independent Anthology," its first program 
under the independent mandate; it was left to 
Sapadin to monitor CPB's compliance with the 
legislation. His baptism occurred his first day in 
office with a call from Ralph Arlyck, one of 24 
producers who had just received a contract for 
the new series. Sapadin said he learned that "the 
contract was an incredible dog" which required 
producers to sign over exclusive broadcast rights 
to their programs for a full three years — whether 
they were aired or not. "My immediate response 
was, 'Let's get together and do something about 
it — collective action,'" Sapadin said. Sapadin, 
Arlyck, and members of the board advocacy 
committee rounded up 17 of the 24 producers, 
each willling to pay $75 toward legal fees. The 
resulting negotiations with CPB led to major ad- 
justments in the contract, a "huge victory," 
Sapadin asserted, "because no independents had 
ever negotiated with CPB as a group before." 

Not all subsequent battles with CPB would 
prove so fruitful. Sapadin had spent no more 
than a month at his post when Ronald Reagan 
took up his in Washington. By the time the "In- 
dependent Anthology" series, broadcast as Mat- 
ters of Life and Death, was aired, public televi- 
sion was facing drastic reductions in its federal 
subsidy. Within months, 1983 funds shrank 
from $220-million to $130-million. The "inde- 
pendent mandate" was actualized not in the at- 
mosphere of increasing diversity and financial 
security prescribed by Carnegie II, but in a time 
of shrinking governmental support. As money 




AIVF president Robert Richter testifies before th< : 

Ccutesy "Curent" 



grew tighter, CPB, which had never willingly 
embraced its relationship with independents, 
began to close ranks. 

In 1982, CPB's Program Fund announced the 
formation of various station consortia devoted 
to the production of dramas, documentaries, 
children's and arts programming, to which a ma- 
jor portion of the fund would be committed. 
"The net result," wrote Sapadin in an Advocacy 
Committee report to the membership, "is that 
the most open and democratic procedures which 
were designed to make the CPB Fund a fair and 
efficient point of access" were wiped out, except 
for Matters of Life and Death, "CPB's sop to 
the community of smaller independent produc- 
ers." CPB still claimed that 40% of its funds 
were going to independents, but that figure in- 
cluded a significant portion of the $4.5 million 
budget of Frontline, a documentary series pro- 
duced by WGBH which had been severely criti- 
cized for what many considered its closed-door 
policy toward independents. Four years after the 
passage of the 1978 law, independents were 
fighting for territory they thought had already 
been won. 

Obsession was enflamed by frustration. For 
several months, AIVF considered a lawsuit 
against CPB, only to drop the idea in light of the 
huge expense and poor prospects for success. 
The Association was forced to take a less 
dramatic tack in pressing its demands. Its most 
recent strategy has been the formation of a na- 



34 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/ FEBRUARY 1985 




joard, 1983. 



tionwide coalition of independent producers, a 
group that began regularly scheduled meetings 
with CPB in 1984. Thus far the meetings have 
yielded the declassification of Frontline as an 
"independent" project and some democratizing 
concessions in regard to the panel process. But 
without question, the funds and opportunities at 
issue in no way correspond to the promise of the 
1978 legislation. 

Is the current state of independent production 
and public television a half-full or half-empty 
glass? "We may not have gotten everything, but 
we're a lot better off than we'd be without 
[PTV]," asserted Halleck. Yet the struggle has 
taken its toll in frustration. "We knew we'd have 
to fight for the CPB money," said Jane Mor- 
rison, who was on the board during this period. 
"But the public television system is structured so 
you can't ever pin anyone down and hold them 
accountable. Ultimately, I was burned out by the 
endless struggle." 

In the past, CPB officials have accused AIVF 
of being too strident in its dealings with PTV, an 
argument Sapadin rejects. "There are people out 
there who are not your friends. You have to fight 
to get what you want." He also defended the 
organization's dogged pressure on CPB. "In the 
case of public TV , there is a statute that says we 
have rights. It seems to me that you should pro- 
tect what's yours." And in what is perhaps an 
ironic footnote to the Lynch-board dispute over 
the Ford/NEA documentary funds, as recently 



as December 1982, Sapadin suggested that the 
Association push for the creation of an "Office 
of Independent Video and Film Production for 
Public Television," which would administer pro- 
duction funds for independents outside the pub- 
lic television system. 

In its first decade, AIVF has shown beyond a 
doubt that it is, in Jane Morrison's words, "not 
just Ed Lynch's idea." But it has, in fact, be- 
come a very different idea. The erstwhile "film- 
and-video thing" that was the early AIVF is to- 
day a sophisticated membership trade organiza- 
tion, a practiced lobbying force, the member of 
several ad hoc producer and telecommunica- 
tions coalitions, and the publisher of a magazine 
with a growing newsstand distribution. 

AIVF still refers to its membership as a "com- 
munity," but the label is more rhetorical than 
descriptive. It is too large (members now number 
close to 3,000), too geographically diverse, and 
too differentiated in terms of skills, experience, 
interests, and personal histories. Its roster in- 
cludes producers of feature films and public ac- 
cess shows, documentarians and video artists; 
while this variety is not new, the range of ambi- 
tions, track records, and working budgets is. In 
1975, AIVF was a relatively homogenous group 
of documentarians; in 1985, a member seeking 
assistance is almost as likely to be looking for in- 
formation on limited partnerships designed to 
raise a quarter of a million dollars as one looking 
for a cheap postproduction house in which to 
edit a low-budget social issue videotape. 

Sapadin's response to this variety is the policy 
of "something for everyone." The organization, 
he believes, should provide the widest possible 
range of services, so independents of every stripe 
have something to gain from belonging. But this 
"united in diversity" approach is more a 
membership and advocacy strategy than the 
members' own expression of any common identity. 

One casualty of AIVF's maturation is the 
decline in membership activism. The services 
that members once created for themselves are 
now the responsibility of a paid staff. Even the 
board, which once met weekly to decide all 
organizational matters, now convenes only 
quarterly, because of its bi-coastal makeup. 
Both Jacobs and Sapadin see this shift as in- 
evitable, part of an organizational life cycle that 
can be traced in every institution. Sapadin ad- 
mits that "some of the personal involvement" is 
lost in the process, but the trade-off is a gain in 
"stability and impact on a broader scale. The 
organization will never go back to what it was in- 
itially, but if it develops to the stage where there 
are chapters — regional structures on a decen- 
tralized basis — you've essentially created 
miniatures of the original organization." 

Finally, the loosely defined, common ideal of 
free imagination which drew the crowds to Ed 
Lynch's loft has been largely supplanted by a 
more explicitly political agenda. But the agenda 



itself has changed — from countercultural 
subversion to institutional, mainstream politics. 
In what is perhaps the greatest irony of AIVF's 
history, the further the organization has drifted 
from its activist subculture roots, the more pro- 
fessionally political it has become. The 
multiplication of threats to the funding 
framework upon which the growth of indepen- 
dent media has depended — cuts in the NEA 
budget, conservative consolidation of the Na- 
tional Endowment for the Humanities, the 
Federal Communications Commission's sell-out 
of the public interest and parallel developments 
at CPB — have required the broadening and pro- 
fessionalization of the organization's advocacy. 

It is an open question as to whether the politics 
of AIVF today reflect only the priorities of the 
staff and board — still dominated by social 
documentarians — or of the general member- 
ship. "I've heard complaints: 'Too much Third 
World stuff in The Independent,'" Sapadin 
reports. But he argues, "That's where it's hap- 
pening. The survival of minority production is 
essential to the survival of independent produc- 
tion." Sapadin says the cross-over producers 
who can command six-figure budgets and edge 
their way into theatrical exhibition "are less 
secure than they think. Their ability to cross over 
is not a given. It comes from their continuing 
ability to get funding from public sources." It is 
that fight to preserve access to public funds, 
which in turn provides producers with creative 
insulation from the demands of the market- 
place, that, in Sapadin's view, dictates AIVF's 
political profile. 

The prospects for public funding for indepen- 
dent media have never been more bleak. The en- 
tire rationale for public support for the 
arts — that there are certain matters on which the 
marketplace should not have the last word — is 
increasingly regarded as heretical. Four more 
years of hostility toward the public sector ul- 
timately may mean, Sapadin says, "that in- 
dependent production will be for those who can 
self-fund or those who, through their willingness 
to exist on a subsistence level, can self- 
capitalize": the very conditions which gave rise 
to AIVF in the first place. Sapadin is well aware 
that "AIVF will not solve the independent's 
problems by being better organized of by having 
a more active membership. None of our little ad- 
ministrative problems are going to solve the 
problems of independent production separate 
from the social and political context of .the 
time." Even as the Association of Independent 
Video and Filmmakers celebrates its first decade 
of growth, institutional stability, and national 
visibility, troubled questions about the indepen- 
dent movement intrude on the party like unin- 
vited guests; No one knows whether this tenth 
anniversay is a landmark in the upward trajec- 
tory of independent media, or a circular move- 
ment coming to rest. 

©Debra Goldman 1985 



JANUARY/ FEBRUARY 1985 



THE INDEPENDENT 35 



Renee E. Tajima 



The world crisis in democracy has produced yet 
another pilgrimage by independent film and 
videomakers and the media center community. 
This time the hot spots are Nicaragua, El Sal- 
vador, Guatemala, and their environs. And so 
we brush up on our Spanish to shoot, teach, and 
demonstrate our solidarity with the people of 
Central America. The irony is that we may trek 
thousands of miles bringing our valuable hard- 
ware and skills; but are the Latino communities in 
the United States being served? And shouldn't our 
awareness of the depth and scope of productions 
coming out of Lincoln Park and East Harlem at 
least match those in Managua? 

When I brought this issue up at the annual 
conference of the National Alliance of Media 
Arts Centers (NAMAQ last October, my cri- 
ticism was not directed at those who are doing 
important and sincere work in Central America, 
but rather at those who hurry in the direction of 
the latest political crisis yet at the same time 
wouldn't set foot in neighborhoods in their own 
cities or express much concern about Third 
World media in this country. The recent interest 
in Central America has resulted in a wider access 
and exposure to Latin American film and video 
than ever before. However, the stories of Latino 
people here, and the opportunities for Latino in- 
dependents who want to tell those stories, remain 
neglected. 

As we gathered at Appalshop — in an Appa- 
lachian town that is suffering another round of 
lay-offs in the coal mines — some of us asked, 
"Aren't these the kinds of constituencies that the 
MACs are supposed to address?" In a self-con- 
scious effort to compensate for last year's classy, 
maybe too classy, gathering at the Walker Arts 
Center, NAMAC devoted this year's conference 
to the topic of media and democracy. But an 
alliance is only the sum of its parts. As we lis- 
tened to MIT computer artist Jennifer Hall an- 
nounce that video is archaic, followed by an ex- 
hibition of her programmed creations inspired 
on-line by her chest cavity pulsating against a 
touch-sensitive terminal, and as we were intro- 
duced to the concept of "off-Hollywood" by an 
American Film Institute/Independent Feature 
Project/Sundance Institute panel, tided "Whose 
Vision of America?," we wondered if the field 
has an identity problem. 

One refreshing aspect of the NAMAC confer- 
ence was the presence of individuals, such as 
Elizabeth Perez Luna of Toucan Productions in 
Philadelphia, and Eduardo Diaz of the Guada- 
lupe Cultural Center in San Antonio, who have 
not been a part of the MAC inner circle, but 
nevertheless have been developing community- 
directed independent media services in their own 
cities. They, like many other Latino producers 
and media activists, work in a milieu where alter- 



LATINO MEDII 



native media functions as a democratic tool 
asserting the right to information (and in one's 
own language) and the right of self-deter- 
mination over the record of one's culture, 
history, and experience. Two other examples of 
Latino organizations with similar goals not 
represented at the conference are Bilingual 
Education Services (BES), which produces pro- 
gramming that deals with the importance of 
now-controversial bilingual education, and the 
Latino Consortium, which addresses the paucity 
of Latino television programming for general 
audiences by packaging and distributing pro- 
grams to public television. Across the country 
the activity of individual Latino producers and 
small production groups has steadily grown. 
Perhaps the best way to gauge the social tem- 
perature of the MAC world, then, is to look at 
what's happening in the field. 

How has the MAC movement, represented by 
NAMAC, affected the Latino community, or 
how has the Latino community contributed to 
the field? First, let's take a look at the relation- 
ship between Third World media and white-con- 
trolled MACs — which has ranged from neglect 
to tokenism to the integration of work and pur- 
pose. Independent producer Lourdes Portillo 
cites the Film Arts Foundation as an example of 
the ideal: "You don't have to push FAF to do 
things," says Portillo. "There's a very close link 
between the directors and the Black, Latino, and 
Asian producers. Whenever there's a need, you 
don't need to push them, they just go ahead and 
implement it." 

On the other end of the spectrum is neglect, or 
even hostility. "Over all, Latinos aren't being 
served by the MAC field," says Luis Ruiz, a 
former board member of NAMAC who has 
argued for more minority outreach in the 
organization, "and there's no consciousness 
about it, which is worse." As Diaz sat through the 
southern regional caucus at the conference, he 
was irked to hear someone ask, "What do we do 
about the minority problem?" During its four- 
year lifespan NAMAC has been plagued by de- 
mands for Third World representation and/ or 
by the inability of the organization to involve all 
sectors of its constituency — depending on your 
point of view. To a degree, minority media peo- 
ple have been viewed as outsiders — a special in- 
terest group that must be accommodated to 
satisfy an obligatory guilt complex left over 
from the '60s, or to avoid embarrassing 
boycotts. Last year Asian Americans refused to 
attend the Walker conference after being left off 
virtually every panel. Ruiz also boycotted the '83 
conference because of the lack of minorities on 
panels, despite his discussions with the organ- 
izers prior to the event. To the extent that minori- 
ty relations are defined by tokenism, what is 




perceived as "the minority problem" will con- 
tinue to besiege the field. 

The real problem, however, may lie in the 
failure to accept minorities on equal footing or, 
better, as assets to the field. At the Appalshop 
conference, New York State Council on the Arts 
Film Program director B. Ruby Rich remarked 
that she had not seen so much energy in the 
organization in a long time, and the greater 
Third World presence at the conference contrib- 
uted to that new energy. More than one observer 
has noted that many minorities in the media field 
have a wealth of political organizing experience, 
along with the clarity of purpose that comes with 
that experience. One theme at the NAMAC con- 
ference was "building new alliances" with 
natural constituencies. Minority producers have 
organized that way for years. For instance, 
Mabel Haddock, executive director of the Na- 
tional Black Programming Consortium (NBPQ, 
has engaged in extensive outreach to Black 
churches — traditional activists in promoting 
positive images of Blacks in the media — to 
gamer support for the organization's public 
television distribution efforts. (Like the Latino 
Consortium, the Native American Public 
Broadcasting Consortium, and the National 
Asian American Telecommunications Associa- 
tion, NBPC packages, distributes, and promotes 
minority programming to the Public Broad- 
casting System.) 




Cine Festival in San Antonio screened 
Eduardo Maldonado's "Laguna de dos 
Tiempos." Ixx/tesy One Festival 



36 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1985 



pIMwY 



In a sense, the greater minority population in 
this country is a natural constituency of the 
MAC field. But how are the minority and white 
media communities to achieve that ideal of in- 
tegration of work and purpose? Last year, Lil- 
lian Jimenez wrote that she was at one time 
heavily criticized for working with AIVF, long 
seen by minorities as a "monolithic white male 
structure that they had to break into" ["First 
Steps to Developing Latino Alternatives," The 
Independent, July/ August 1983]. People told 
her, "We need to set up our own structures; we 
need to work by ourselves; we don't need white 
folks; we need to break that dependency." 
Jimenez pointed out that minorities have to ap- 
proach the situation tactically and be willing to 
struggle. "We need to look at how we can work 
with white people, especially people who are out- 
side of our class, educating them and being 
educated also." I will take that idea one step fur- 
ther, adding that minorities need to work with 
whites from a position of internal strength. 

The existence of minority-controlled MACs 
and other organizations are a way of achieving 
that strength. Most people agree that local 
Latino organizations and centers are necessary. 
"They know how to package Latino aesthetics 
and concerns, and they know the particularities of 
Latino media artists," says Jimenez. However, 
there are differing views on the prospects of 
creating a national entity. Jimenez believes that 
there is a need for a national center to provide 
services and communications and to bridge the 
schism between producers on the East and West 
Coasts. She cites the ties that resulted from the 
Alternative Cinema Conference in 1979, where 
many Latino producers met for the first time. 
According to Diaz, there were earlier efforts to 
establish a National Latino Media Coalition in 
the 1970s. "People were starting to come out and 
do stuff. It was the highlight of the civil rights 
movement for access and employment, and 
there was an effort to organize the producers. 
For the first time, Puerto Rican and Chicano 
producers came together." But that coalition did 
not last. Diaz blames the lack of funding and 
losses incurred when the WNET-produced pro- 
gram Realizades folded after the Corporation 
for Public Broadcasting curtailed its funding; 




Rick Tejada-Flores's "Low 'N Slow: The Art of Lowrldlng," shown at the Guadalupe Cultural 
Arts Center. 

Courtesy Filmmaker 




"Los Lobos . . 
Consortium. 

Photo Brad Branson 



. And a Time for Dance" was shown on "Presente" by the Latino 



JANUARY/ FEBRUARY 1985 



THE INDEPENDENT 37 



the Realizades group had spearheaded the coali- 
tion. But Ruiz also points out that the diversity 
of coalition members created difficulties, and 
this would present an obstacle to further 
organizing efforts. "You have to have very 
strong local groups," he observes. "With that 
there's a lot of mistrust. There are three distinct 
Hispanic groups in this country: Chicano, Puer- 
to Rican, and Cuban. It would be better if they 
were taking care of local needs and getting 
together nationally on bigger things." Jimenez is 
in the process of organizing a conference of 
Latino producers where these issues can be 
discussed. 

Indeed, most of the organizing process has 
been made on a local level. Cine Accion, which 
Portillo helped found in 1980, serves the San 
Francisco independent community, particularly 
Latinos and other minorities. It is a multi-service 
center, under the direction of Roberto Echevar- 
ria, that sponsors screenings, meetings, a skills 
bank, and a newsletter inserted in FAF's pub- 
lication Release Print. (FAF's executive director 
Gail Silva is on the board.) The group has recent- 
ly received a grant to produce a four-part 
30-minute cable showcase of works by Latino 
producers. 

Cine Accion works closely with other local 
arts and media groups, according to admini- 
strative assistant Clara Ines, the only paid staff- 



person. They have recently organized Imagenes, 
a project with Cultural and Educational Media 
and the Theatre Artaud Film Committee which 
will showcase Latin American cinema. They are 
also planning a Latin American Film Festival, 
which may be presented as an official compo- 
nent of the San Francisco International Film 
Festival. Cine Accion has long served as a link 
with Latin American filmmakers. "When they 
come to the San Francisco International Film 
Festival, we host events like cocktail parties and 
introduce them to the community," explained 
Ines, "because otherwise they would only get to 
know the film community. We have things in El 
Barrio; for example, the Mission Cultural Cen- 
ter will do a presentation or a press conference. " 
presentation or a press conference." 

Latino media people have been active in forg- 
ing these intercontinental connections long 
before Latin America became a popular issue. 
"We feel a very close link with Latin American 
filmmakers," said Portillo. "There's no dif- 
ference between us here and in Latin America." 
Los Angeles-based Ruiz and his partner Jesus 
Trevino see Chicano filmmakers as being part of 
El Nuevo Cine Latino Americano [the New La- 
tin American Cinema movement], and have co- 
operated with the Mexican film community in 
productions [see "Chicano-Mexican Connec- 
tion Grows," The Independent, June 1984]. 



Another Cine Festival presentation was "Cronlcas Carlbe." 




Other visible efforts have included exhibition ex- 
changes, such as Cine Festival's program of 
Cuban films last summer and the Chicano cine- 
ma retrospectives in Havana, Benalmadena, 
Spain, and one being planned by BES for broad- 
cast on Mexican television. Given this experi- 



- : --~\. . '-i -~y 



NAMAC'S CRITICAL 
CONDITION 

Judging from the National Alliance of Media 
Arts Center's annual conference in late Oc- 
tober, the organization is in deep trouble. 
The vexing problems, articulated at an all- 
day board and membership meeting, can be 
variously pinpointed: financial instability, 
lack of communication, murky decision- 
making processes, unresponsiveness to con- 
stituents' interests, lack of common pur- 
pose — in sum, organizational disarray and a 
great deal of discontent. To those present at 
the genial Appalshop conference, this may 
seem a downbeat, overly harsh evaluation of 
NAMAC's current condition; but despite 
good will and the alliance's resolve to 
persevere, no practical cures for NAMAC's 
general malaise were identified, not to men- 
tion implemented. 

There were a few decisions reached during 
the conference deliberations. Three are 
significant: restructuring of the board of 
directors, election of two new co-chairs for 
the organization, and the resignation of the 
board's sole minority member present. All 
decisions were confined to the board, al- 
though the first two were subjects of discus- 
sion at the membership meeting. A "stream- 
lined" board was proposed by Melinda 
Ward, head of NAMAC's long-range plan- 
ning committee and director of media at the 
Walker Arts Center in Minneapolis. Ward's 
reasoning was based on the failure of 
NAMAC's 16-member board to meet even 
once during the past year, which she at- 
tributed to its unwieldy numbers. She recom- 
mended a 12-member body instead. In addi- 
tion, Ward's board design included provi- 
sions for six appointed members, the remain- 
ing sue to be elected at-large by the member- 
ship from a roster of candidates compiled by 
a board committee. As someone remarked at 
the membership meeting, under this plan the 
composition of NAMAC's governing body 
will be internally controlled. Board member 
Jose Luis Ruiz reminded the assembled 
membership that past board appointments 
have been intended to achieve geographic 
and ethnic balance, but Ruiz's subsequent 
resignation from the board raises questions 
about the organization's ability to serve 
Third World constitutents. Also, Ward's 
proposal simply advocated that those sitting 
on the board be individuals "with national 
influence and fundraising ability"; the by- 



38 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/ FEBRUARY 1985 



ence, Ruiz finds its strange that other MACs, 
now showing a deep interest in similar ex- 
changes, have not proposed cooperative efforts 
with Latino media people. 

Diaz confirms the growing interest in Latino 
film and video by Spanish-speaking countries, 



but the reception at home has proved problem- 
atic. Ruiz echoes Portillo's concern that in- 
dependent Latino producers often fall between 
the programming cracks, unable to find a 
telecast outlet. "We're not in SIN, we're not in 
CPB, we're right in-between," says Portillo. 



SIN (Spanish International Network) is a na- 
tional Spanish language system that largely ac- 
quires programming from abroad — a primary 
vehicle for major advertisers who are looking for 
a Spanish-language market. "In public televi- 
sion, we have a sizeable potential audience na- 



laws contain no language ensuring balance. 
And in Ward's view, as she explained to the 
membership, "It doesn't matter whether you 
elect or appoint the board." Although there 
was dissension on this issue, the membership 
was never polled, and the board adopted the 
plan at its meeting the next morning. 

At that meeting Ward and Rick Weise, di- 
rector of Film in the Cities in Minneapolis, 
were chosen to co-chair the alliance. Weise 
has been NAMAC's treasurer and the prob- 
lem of NAMAC's solvency may be acknowl- 
edged in this choice. Since the last conference 
in 1983, NAMAC established a national of- 
fice, hired an executive director (Wanda Ber- 
shen) and an assistant, and then, last July, 
closed the office and laid off the staff. The 
reason given by Ron Green, NAMAC chair 
for the past two years, was a "cash flow prob- 
lem." At the board meeting Weise reported 
on NAMAC's current balance sheet and pro- 
jected 1985 budget. The math involved in 
figuring the financial state of the organiza- 
tion was questioned, however, and the ensuing 
discussion degenerated into a verbal battle 
over debt repayment. From that debate and 
Weise's report to the membership, it seems 
fair to conclude that a balanced budget for 
NAMAC hinges on successful fundraising 
during the last months of 1984. Otherwise, the 
cash flow problem could become a true deficit. 
Weise brushed aside skepticism voiced by 
fellow board member* Ruiz and Virgil Grillo, 
replying, "There is money to pay a substantial 
portion of that debt." The precise sources for 
funds to make up the approximately $15,000 
shortfall were never given, though. 

Money matters may also figure in the fate 
of NAMAC's one-year-old journal, Media 
Arts. Editor Douglas Edwards reminded the 
board that "NAMAC didn't meet its full 
cash commitment this year." That failure 
forced Edwards to cut back the publication 
schedule from the promised six issues to four 
over the past year. Even so, the $24,000 pro- 
ject required outside support, which Ed- 
wards secured from various member institu- 
tions: the Long Beach Museum of Art, the 
Museum of Modern Art, the Academy of 
Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (Edwards's 
employer), and the Academy Foundation. 
Recently, the American Film Institute in- 
vested $4,000 in Media Arts. (NAMAC's 
share of Media Arts' 1984 budget was 
$10,000.) This coalition of sponsors, with 
NAMAC footing less than half the bill, raises 
certain doubts about the alliance's most 



tangible and visible project. Indeed, 
MOMA's film program was featured in the 
magazine's summer 1984 issue, along with 
excerpts from a lecture delivered by Arthur 
Schlesinger Jr. at AFI. Although members 
regularly praised Edwards's dedication and 
diligence, the allocation of NAMAC's scarce 
resources to Media Arts and the publication's 
use value received some criticism. And Ed- 
wards questioned his own willingness to take 
responsibility for what is essentially a one- 
man operation beyond 1985. NAMAC, how- 
ever, seems hesitant either to modify its 
publication goals or find the funds necessary 
to guarantee independence and continuity 
for Media Arts. 

The uncertainty surrounding Media Arts 
and NAMAC's overall budget could be at- 
tributed to structural flaws in the organiza- 
tion — the sort a more efficient board of di- 
rectors might correct. On the other hand, the 
obvious dissatisfaction of some members 
with the board's plan to "streamline" itself, 
the shaky status of Media Arts, and the vague 
budget projection (as well as the questionable 
position of Third World media groups within 
NAMAC, discussed in Renee Tajima's 
accompanying article) point to the alliance's 
most severe predicament. Put bluntly, de- 
spite its four-year lifespan, no one seems to 
know what NAMAC is supposed to do. Tak- 
ing stock of sentiments expressed by mem- 
bers, there appears to be consensus that an 
umbrella group of some sort is desirable, and 
everyone agreed (or no one disagreed) that a 
conference which brings together disparate 
segments of the far-flung media arts com- 
munity provides useful exchanges and en- 
courages debate. Past that, little binds this 
nebulous community together — save that 
most, if not all, of NAMAC's member organ- 
izations receive funds from the National En- 
dowment for the Arts Media Program. 

Speaking from the floor at the member's 
meeting, Julie Gustafson, director of Global 
Village in New York City, cited a "perception 
in the field that NEA started NAMAC" as an 
important factor in NAMAC's identity crisis. 
Her comment was met by a round of denials. 
Why, when that "perception" is not arbitrary, 
but based in fact? (For details of the NEA's 
role in the founding of NAMAC, see Debra 
Goldman's history of AIVF in this issue.) If 
NAMAC refuses to recognize the NEA con- 
nection — its own and that of its members — 
how can it begin to define itself in relation to 
the national media scene? Isn't the common 



denominator of NAMAC members — the 
designation "media arts center" — also an 
NEA creation? Media arts centers, NEA 
Media Arts specialist Don Drucker told his 
NAMAC audience, stand "in opposition to 
official culture." This may be true for some, 
but clearly not all; for instance, little opposi- 
tion can be found within the AFI. How can 
one organization simultaneously represent 
the interests of well-heeled institutions like 
MOMA or Media Study/Buffalo on one 
hand, and those of modest, community- 
based programs like the Cincinnati Film 
Society and Women's Studio Workshop on 
the other, and, in addition, the interests of 
diverse Third World media producers and 
groups? Even with a facelift for NAMAC's 
board, this dilemma will plague the alliance. 

So far, NAMAC's major achievement — 
apart from conferences — has been to secure 
management assistance grants, funneled 
from the NEA, for a few of its member 
organizations. A reestablished and restaffed 
office — a priority of the 1985 agenda — may 
make NAMAC even more attractive as a sub- 
contractor, thus competing with its members 
for government and private foundation 
money. Bureaucracies are most comfortable 
dealing with other bureaucracies; perhaps 
this is why NEA encouraged NAMAC in the 
first place. 

After all, oppositional culture isn't exactly 
the order of the day at the Reagan NEA, 
Drucker's comments to the contrary. As 
NEA Media Arts program director Brian 
O'Doherty cautioned last year's NAMAC 
conferees, "High moral seriousness and vir- 
tue is [sic] not fundable." As the Reaganites 
dig in for four more years of dismantling 
liberal funding policies, media centers will 
either fall into line, suffer the blows, or 
strategize and organize in opposition. Mean- 
while, NAMAC, bogged down in its bureau- 
cratic morass, takes no position — not at the 
Appalshop conference and not in the fore- 
seeable future. 

Without an identification of differences 
within the organization and a coherent defin- 
ition of opposition that isn't emptied of all 
meaning because it encompasses every va- 
riety of nonprofit activity, how can NAMAC 
begin to set its course? As a collective voice for 
media centers and media makers, NAMAC 
has proved ineffective. Should NAMAC 
perish in the funding crunch, or even if it 
muddles on, will anyone notice? 

— Martha Gever 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1985 



THE INDEPENDENT 39 



tionwide, but PBS doesn't know how to reach 
them," says Ruiz, "so MACs are necessary 
because they can target audiences and meet 
specific needs instead of trying to meet mass 
needs. A good example is Appalshop, which 
doesn't have to produce what's palatable for 
Boston and New York, but fits regional needs." 
And thus develops its own audience. 

The Latino Consortium, also based in Los 
Angeles, was established to build public televi- 
sion audiences for Latino programming. The 
consortium packages and distributes program- 
ming on a national basis through its Presente 
series. Like the other minority consortia, it is 
funded largely by CPB. "The Latino Consor- 
tium has been successful because it allows PBS 
access for independent producers and has allow- 
ed for upgrading of some local Latino program- 
ming," says Ruiz, who serves on the board of the 
organization. According to executive director 
Sylvia Morales, the consortium also provides on- 
the-job training and information services to pro- 
ducers. "Latino media is still at a very young 
stage," says Morales, "but some [producers] 
have a lot of experience. I think those who have 
been producing for the last 15-20 years need to 
mentor young Latino producers. Pioneers have 
made inroads, but we need new blood all the time." 

Training is a primary concern for Diaz and 
Perez Luna, who are developing Latino media 
centers in their own communities. Perez Luna, 
who is a principal in Independence Public Media 
[see "A Station of Our Own, " The Independent, 
November 1984], a group of independents that 
has just been awarded a full power television 
broadcast license from the FCC, works primari- 
ly as an independent radio producer. She has just 
completed the award-winning radio series Latin 
USA for National Public Radio, intended "to 
show the tremendous diversity of the Latino 
population in this country." Perez Luna ex- 
plains, "People tend to stereotype Latinos into 
thinking they're a monolithic entity. But if you 
multiply the different Latino cultures, it creates a 
much more powerful impact than what people 
think; which is oversimplified." 

Perez Luna and Len Persky also established 
Toucan Productions, a non-profit audio studio 
with 8-track and 4-track systems, including the 
services of an engineer. Toucan provides facil- 
ities access, training, and assistance in fund- 
raising, with an emphasis on high technical qual- 
ity. "I started out as an independent producer 
for NPR and I found that there are no facilities 
open for independents," says Perez Luna. "Len 
and I found that there is not only a need for pro- 
duction for Latinos but independent production 
in general — with good equipment, at a good 
price with people who know what you want to 
do and are sensitive to what independents and 
documentarians are trying to accomplish." 

In October, Toucan sponsored a two-day 
training session in conjunction with San Fran- 
cisco's Western Public Radio, funded by CPB. 
VVPR also held a conference in San Francisco 



around the same time. The response was enthu- 
siastic. "On the East Coast, Latino radio pro- 
ducers are isolated," explains Perez Luna, "but 
with a center like this we find out that there are 
more producers than we thought, and we've 
created a lot of energy, because people who 
never thought of doing radio before now want to 
do things." Toucan has attracted Latino and 
non-Latino producers alike, creating a ripple ef- 
fect. Says Perez Luna, "Usually minorities are 
seen as low end, low tech. But they come here 
and work at a sophisticated level. The image of 
the unskilled minority is false." Toucan hopes to 
build the presence of Latino radio on the East 
Coast, to join with the movement of bilingual 
radio stations, both public and community, on 
the West Coast and in the Southwest. 

The Guaaalupe Cultural Arts Center in San 
Antonio is located in a unique city. It is the tenth 
largest in the country, and 55 percent of the 
metropolitan area population is Latino. Accord- 




Bill Jersey's "Children of Violence," 
screened at the Cine Festival. 



ing to Diaz, a former radio producer and the 
director of the Center's theater, the Texas 
border, Mexican-based Tejano culture is strong 
in San Antonio, and Spanish is the primary lang- 
uage in most sections of the Latino comunity. As 
a result, the local area is served by four Spanish- 
language radio stations, a SIN station, and one 
Spanish-language cable system. Programming 
fare, however, is typical. SIN offers old movies, 
game shows, novellas and the like, while 
Spanish-language programming on cable is 
dominated by Galavision — "standard, boring 
programming," according to Diaz, "very stereo- 
typical, very sexist." KLRN, the local public 
television affiliate, carries Presente but is weak in 
local programming dealing with Latinos. 

What would Diaz like to see instead? "In the 
case of San Antonio you have a strong culture, 
as opposed to Los Angeles where you have a res- 
cue mission to preserve the culture. Here the 



needs are issue-oriented," explains Diaz, "edu- 
cational, political, economic, cultural. Access is 
still very much an issue down here. Even though 
the public affairs directors are Chicanos, they 
need to be a lot more aggressive. They're still 
very middle-class, comfortable, safe types of 
people that don't want to rock the boat." Given 
San Antonio's strong cultural foundation, there is 
the potential for production and distribution to 
cities with smaller, or newer, Latino populations. 
A GCAC arts tabloid recently published was 
"gobbled up" in other cities, according to Diaz. 

GCAC plans to develop into a full media arts 
center. It has programs in the visual arts, perfor- 
mance, music; sponsors Cine Festival, the 
annual Latino film and video festival; and has 
already produced short programs and public 
service announcements for Rogers Cable. The 
MAC will focus on training programs — from 
scriptwriting to hands-on production experi- 
ence — as well as production, distribution, and 
expanded exhibition in the Center's theater 
space. A small group of staff instructors have 
already been certified by Rogers Cable as a result 
of- their program cooperation. "But we don't 
have control," Diaz points out. "Rogers owns 
the equipment." Beyond the Center's local 
plans, Diaz thinks it is crucial to unify Latino 
producers and media support people in the U.S. 
Says Diaz, "I hope people realize a certain 
amount of urgency. I've decided to cut down my 
international trips — a lot of Latin American coun- 
tries are interested in what's going on here, in im- 
proving distribution of their works, so I've been 
going around to festivals and conferences. But 
we've started to let our own backyards grow 
weeds." 

In her article on Latino alternatives, Jimenez 
concludes: "I think everybody, not just Third 
World people, has a responsibility to work 
toward creating alternatives, developing leader- 
ship, struggling against racism." Clearly, the 
Latino community is developing alternative 
structures. However, that doesn't let the rest of 
us off the hook. The New York Times 
[November 18, 1984] quotes Kenneth B. Clark 
speaking at a recent conference commemorating 
the twentieth anniversary of the Civil Rights Act: 
"[Liberal whites] seem to feel they have gone far 
enough in promoting equal rights. . . . The strug- 
gle for democracy is an ongoing burden and bat- 
tle fatigue is a very real phenomenon. People get 
tired, particularly if they are not the direct vic- 
tims of the inequities." 

The burst of activity in Latin America dem- 
onstrates that the media field has not entirely lost 
its combative edge or social-mindedness. But, as 
Diaz points out, we can easily "let our own 
backyards grow weeds." Latino, and all other 
Third World media, must be taken seriously by 
NAMAC and the entire field — not only because 
they form an important part of the original vi- 
sion of independent, alternative media, but be- 
cause they might point a new direction for media 

democracy. © Rener E. Tajima 1985 



40 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/ FEBRUARY 1985 



Congratulations to AIVF on its tenth 
anniversary, to The Independent's staff 
and contributors, and to the community 
they serve and inspire. To all of you, our 
best wishes for the season and the times, 
and our pledge of continued support. We 
feel your work is important, and we'll be 
here to help in whatever ways we can. 
That's what our facilities are for. 



■ 



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VISUAL INFORMATION SYSTEMS • 15 Columbus Circle • NYC 10023 • OU 
• Video Duplication • 1 Post-pioduction • 




OREIGNCUKREECY: 

INTERNATIOHAL TEI^EVISICaSr MARKETS 



Debra Wells 



Your independently produced film has been com- 
pleted. You've called in all your chips, begging 
funds from public television, foundations, and 
your relatives. Now, with your bank account 
cleaned out, your thoughts turn to the foreign 
marketplace: you want to recoup your invest- 
ment, and would like the additional broadcasts 
to add to your resume. You've heard that many 
foreign countries are far more receptive than the 
United States to independent productions, are 
willing to experiment with the avant garde, and 
will actually program documentaries. But before 
you grab the next flight to the continent, there's 
a lot you should know about world broadcast 
markets and how they've recently changed, pro- 
gramming trends, which types of films are and 
are not marketable, technical standards and for- 
mats, standard contract terms, and worldwide 
license fees. [For purposes of simplification, in 
this article "film" refers to all programs discuss- 
ed, including those shot on videotape.] 

A brief note about my own background: much 
of this article is based on my experience as a 
distributor. At WNET/Thirteen, I was coordin- 
ator of international sales, distributing such 
WNET productions as Bill Moyers' Journal and 
Dance in America, along with independent pro- 
ductions produced through the TV Lab. From 
WNET I moved to Fox/Lorber Associates, Inc. , 
where, as director of international sales, I work- 
ed exclusively with independents, distributing a 
wide range of features, documentaries, music 
and children's programs. 

I believe that broadcast markets are still the 
best outlet for most independents. But in recent 
years, international broadcast markets have 
been greatly affected by the so-called "new 
technologies" of cable, pay TV, direct broadcast 
satellite (DBS), home video, etc. Since one can- 
42 THE INDEPENDENT 




♦♦♦ 



Only The Strong Survive 




A Television Documentary-Friday, April 11 -9:00 p.m. on most PBS Stations. 

(10:00 RM. in New York on WNET 1 3)' 



Produced by the Downtown Community Television Center and the Television Laboratory at WNET 13, New York. 



Rjndwg piowdtd by thclndt im i dmt P wj M mH oy Raid, Nation^ tndoin uH for 



.■PT.-.r-i ■■ i. \ iii. 3^ — — ^^m 



The human interest angle of DCTV's "Third Avenue: Only the Strong Survive" appealed 
to foreign audiences. 

Courtesy Filmmaker 



not adequately understand the current broadcast 
market without a bit of information on how 
these new markets have altered the status quo, 
let's briefly look at these changes. 

Until recently, international television has 
generally been structured more or less as PBS is 
here at home — non-commercial, with varying 
degrees of government support. Many countries 
have had only one national TV network. But 



those days are rapidly changing. Additional 
broadcast channels, some commercial, have 
come or are coming soon to much of the world. 
And while much of Europe has been heavily 
cabled for years, pay TV a la HBO is just arriving 
on foreign shores. (Pay TV is actually a 
misnomer, since most Europeans pay for TV 
already: yearly license fees based on the number 
of TV sets owned are collected by the govern- 
JANUARY/ FEBRUARY 1985 



ment.) Some examples are Canal Plus in France, 
ATN in Holland, and The Voice in Denmark. 
DBS is also a factor to contend with: England's 
Sky Channel may reach all of Europe in the near 
future, and Thames TV, also in England, is plan- 
ning a pan-European "super-station," much 
like Ted Turner's Atlanta-based WTBS. VCR 
ownership (and therefore rental and purchase of 
videotapes) has until fairly recently been much 
higher in many foreign countries than in the U.S. 
Video has been especially strong in Scandinavia, 
the Benelux countries, and England. 

Great, you're saying. More potential markets 
for my film. In theory, yes. In reality, these new 
markets have not been especially receptive to in- 
dependents. The operative word here is commer- 
cial. All those culture-loving Europeans have not 
been rushing out to rent videotapes of documen- 
taries. They want E. T. Or Michael Jackson in 

concert. Or You get the picture. The "new 

markets" are good for the Hollywood studios, 
although independents should not categorically 
rule them out. 

The new markets have intensified competi- 
tion, causing many TV networks to tighten up. 
When networks are faced with serious competi- 
tion for viewers and the necessity of attracting 
advertisers, the drift tends to be toward the 
mainstream and the commercial. Programs that 
were once acceptable are no longer even con- 
sidered in some cases. I have worked with several 
producers who had licensed films to TV net- 
works some time ago, and were rudely surprised 
and disappointed when later offerings of similar 
quality were turned down. 

Another factor causing change in broadcast 
markets is a desire among some countries for 
more indigenous original programming. A re- 
cent study by the Broadcasting Research Unit of 
Britain found that 40% of those questioned 
thought there was too much U.S. programming 
on British TV. And many North Americans are 
by now familiar with French Cultural Minister 
Jack Lang's condemnation of U.S. cultural 
domination, especially in television. 

A couple of years ago I was in London, short- 
ly after the Channel 4 broadcast of a U.S. docu- 
mentary, Quilts in Women's Lives. This non-po- 
litical program was causing a political storm. I 
first learned of it at the airport: a remark to the 
customs inspector that I was in London on busi- 
ness, and that I worked in the television industry, 
prompted a denunciation of Quilts and Channel 
4. The inspector's reasoning was that since there 
are plenty of British quilters around, Channel 4 
should not have shown a film on U.S. quilters. 
This same line of thought was expressed in most 
of London's newspapers. Later in the week, I 
met with the Channel 4 commissioning editor 
who bought the program; she confirmed that the 
uproar over Quilts was very real, and that in the 
future there would be more pressure to buy and 
commission works from British producers. 

Anyone with a TV set knows there is virtually 
no foreign-produced programming on U.S. tele- 



vision, with the exception of some high-budget 
dramas by Britain's BBC and ITV networks on 
PBS. (Some cable stations do air foreign, non- 
English films, but these reach only a fraction of 
the U.S. market.) There is growing dissatisfac- 
tion among Europeans and the British with this 
lack of reciprocity, and a desire for a more even 
exchange. And some European broadcasters are 
disappointed in PBS's apparent lack of support 
for independents: they say they have spent too 
much time and money on U.S. films for which 
there is no U.S. support. 

Another complicating factor is foreign import 
quotas. Not all networks have quotas, but many 
do. Let's say a network allows only 15% of its 
programming to be foreign-produced. To fit 
under that 1 5 % umbrella, you must compete not 
only with Hollywood studios, major networks, 
and other independents, but with foreign net- 
works and foreign filmmakers as well. And keep 
in mind that many countries have a broadcast 
day of only eight-to-10 hours, unlike the round- 



m , « 


" :: 




f& 





Pam Yates and Deborah Shaffer's "contra" 
footage was licensed extensively by inter- 
national television systems. 



U v' ''' ' 



the-clock programming we've come to expect in 
the U.S. 

Who said it was going to be easy? In fact, it's 
damned difficult to get an international broad- 
cast deal these days — but not impossible. Many 
independents are still doing well internationally: 
licensing films, getting co-production deals, and 
enjoying a world-wide reputation. Even though 
Dallas, Dynasty, and The A Team are among the 
top-rated shows in most foreign countries, 
there's still an overseas audience for serious, 
challenging, and experimental programs. But 
how can you determine if your film has a good 
shot at the world market? 

Let's start with pacing. Most non-U. S. films 
move at a much slower pace than U.S. ones. 
(Japan is a bit of an exception, preferring action 
in the North American mode.) This is not to sug- 
gest that you can get away with something that's 
dull, boring, or meandering, but don't worry if 
your film is considered slow by U.S. commercial 
standards. 

Guest hosts are scorned by foreign program- 
mers and audiences. As an English buyer once 
rather flippantly said to me, "We can think for 
ourselves. We don't need a celebrity to tell us 



that this is okay to watch." Don't worry, 
however, if your documentary has a celebrity in- 
tro. Just be aware that most foreign TV pro- 
grammers will edit out hosts (and may even 
specify this in a contract). 

Since most foreign program time slots are 
more flexible than U.S. network slots, you don't 
need to be concerned about adhering to rigid 
timing, such as the 45-minute hour, created for 
advertising purposes. Timing is important in 
marketing your film, however. Feature length 
(90-plus minutes) offers the most options to pro- 
grammers, and, is therefore the most attractive. 
Programmers frequently have feature slots avail- 
able. But while buyers are eager for feature- 
length dramas and entertainment specials, it is 
almost impossible to place 90-minute documen- 
taries. Sixty-minute slots are good for music and 
entertainment specials, and some documentar- 
ies. There seems to be resistance to 60-minute 
dramas. 

The 30-minute program poses the most prob- 
lems of all, unless that 30 minutes is part of a 
series. There are virtually no 30-minute slots for 
"stand-alone" programs. One way to solve this 
problem is to package a 30-minute program with 
other half-hours to form a series. A good distri- 
butor with an ample catalogue can often pull this 
off. For instance, five half-hours on the same 
topic or theme (women's issues, Black artists, 
etc.) can be licensed under one series title, with 
series promotions. Buyers usually love series 
since they can quickly fill several time slots. 

Some types of films are extremely difficult to 
place. Comedies do not fare well: humor varies 
tremendously from one culture to another, with 
few crossover successes. (Monty Python seems 
to be the worldwide exception.) What has Ger- 
mans rolling in the aisles may leave a Japanese 
audience wondering what all the fuss is about. 
Comedy sketches are often very topical or 
political and therefore get stale quickly. I once 
distributed several Saturday Night Live specials, 
without a tremendous amount of success: many 
of the SNL stars were unknown abroad, the 
buyers often did not understand the humor, and 
five-year-old Gerald Ford jokes are not even fun- 
ny to Americans. Another drawback to comedy 
shows is that they do not lend themselves well to 
subtitling. 

Locally-oriented programs, especialy docu- 
mentaries, often do not meet with success 
abroad. An investigation of the Hartford Police 
Department is not going to be of much interest to 
viewers in Kuwait. There are exceptions to this, 
of course: Jon Alpert's Third Avenue: Only the 
Strong Survive, a documentary dealing with the 
lives of people who live or work on New York's 
Third Avenue, was licensed to several interna- 
tional TV networks and received high praise. 
One reason for the success of this program may 
have been its general human interest qualities: 
viewers everywhere could empathize with the 
lives of these New Yorkers. 

Other programs which may encounter resist- 



JANUARY/ FEBRUARY 1985 



THE INDEPENDENT 43 



ance are those which pose special dubbing or 
subtitling problems. A lovely, imaginatively 
staged version of Alice in Wonderland, produc- 
ed by the Minneapolis Children's Theatre for 
Home Box Office, was turned down by Dan- 
marks Radio in Denmark because of the expense 
of dubbing. (Denmark usually subtitles, but 
must dub children's programs; since Alice was 
feature-length, with many characters, the ex- 
pense of dubbing became prohibitive.) BRT in 
Belgium, after much debate, passed on The 
Longest River, a 30-minute documentary on 
river rafting in Chile. BRT also usually subtitles, 
but felt that this sort of action-adventure 
documentary, with the interweaving of voices of 
the trip's three participants, needed dubbing to 
be understood. The problems and expense of 
dubbing this type of documentary were deemed 
not worth the effort. Shorts (usually defined as 
anything less than 20 minutes, but more com- 
monly in the three-to-15 minute range) can be 
licensed as filler material, but the net dollar gain 
is rarely worth the effort, and very few 
distributors now handle shorts. 

But it's not all bad news. There are some pro- 
grams in demand internationally. Good chil- 
dren's films are hot, with animation considered 
especially attractive. (Animation lends itself well 
to voiceover dubs, which can be done easily and 
relatively cheaply.) Good features are always 
wanted, and many foreign networks — such as 
Danmarks Radio, BRT, Channel 4, and West 
Germany's ZDF, to name a few — have slots spe- 
cifically allocated for independent features. 

Hard news journalism is in demand. Many of 
the world's smaller TV networks cannot afford 
to send correspondents to all of the globe's 
political hot spots, and so are quite willing to use 
news reports from independents. Videomaker 
Ilan Ziv was able to get into the Philip- 
pines shortly after the assassination of Benito 
Aquino — when many of the large news 
organizations were not allowed in — and licensed 
his footage to CBS and the BBC, among others. 
Pam Yates's footage of the contras in Nicaragua 
was licensed extensively worldwide, including to 
the Soviet Union and East Germany. But hard 
news material must be handled carefully, since it 
can date almost overnight. It's a good idea to 
have your deals lined up in advance. 

There is also still a market for good documen- 
taries, even though it can be difficult to predict 
which ones will be successful. Social interest 
topics and people portraits are good bets. Peren- 
nial favorites are wildlife and nature films, 
especially series. Educational films will find an 
audience, especially in the Third World. 

Films on the arts (ballet, opera, classical 
music, etc.) usually find a receptive international 
audience. Europe, especially, has been home to 
the avant garde and the experimental. Both 
Philip Glass and Laurie Anderson were success- 
ful in Europe long before they made waves in 
the U.S. Music programs, especially "in con- 

44 THf INDEPENDENT 



cert" shows, are always popular, and music 
videos were hot in Europe long before MTV 
shook things up here. Several foreign networks 
are now featuring series built upon an MTV for- 
mat. But while most types of music program- 
ming have done well in recent years, jazz has 
not. There are a large number of accomplished 
jazz musicians willing to work relatively inex- 
pensively, and studio jazz sessions can be pro- 
duced on a low budget, which has led td a huge 
surplus of jazz programs, both concert pieces 
and documentaries. 

Foreign audiences are becoming more sophis- 
ticated, and buyers are placing more emphasis 
on high production values. Programs do get re- 
jected on the basis of technical quality. Today, 
the standard for broadcast is 1 " tape, even 
though many countries still use 2" tape. Sixteen 
millimeter film is also accepted for broadcast, 
even though the network's engineers may make 
a film- to- tape transfer for the actual broadcast. 
Three-quarter inch tape is the preferred format 
for screening, even though a growing handful of 
people will screen Vi " tape. 

There are three tape formats in use: 525 NTSC 
(used primarily by the U.S. and Japan); 625 
SECAM (used by France and the former French 
colonies); and 625 PAL (used by the rest of the 
world). It is perfectly acceptable to use 525 



NTSC V* " tapes for screening purposes, since 
everyone has tri-standard decks. But if you get a 
broadcast deal, you will be required to supply a 
1 " or 2 " tape in the proper format. NTSC tapes 
cannot be broadcast over a PAL or SECAM 
system, and vice versa. 

Dubbing or subtitling is the responsibility of 
the buyers, with the exception of Latin America 
(more about this in a later article). In any sale to 
a non-English-language network, you will be re- 
quired to provide an English transcript of the 
program for translation purposes. 

What other factors help sell a film interna- 
tionally? Previous broadcasts and theatrical re- 
leases are points in your favor. So are 
prizes — but only the most prestigious ones. 
Some worth mentioning: the Emmy, Cine 
Golden Eagle, Academy Award (or even a 
nomination), Berlin's Golden Bear, Cannes's 
Palme d'Or. Festival showings will pique some 
interest. The most impressive festivals are Can- 
nes, Berlin, London, New York, and Telluride. 
Good reviews can also be important. But none 
of these factors will make a sale for you. In the 
end, that will depend upon a buyer's current 
needs, likes, and budget. But they may help you 
at least get your film screened. 

Should you attend international festivals and 
markets in the hope of selling your film? If 




you're doing your own distribution, you'U prob- 
ably have to, in order to meet people. But the 
big markets are so crowded and so heavily dom- 
inated by the commercial interests that it's very 
difficult to grab a buyer's attention. Much bet- 
ter, I believe, to arrange appointments with rele- 
vant buyers in their offices, away from the roar 
of the marketplace. The catch is that in order to 
find out who these buyers are, you may have to 
attend markets. 

The most important international TV market 
is MIP (Marche Internationale des Program- 
mes), held near the end of April in Cannes, 
France (not to be confused with the Cannes Film 
Festival). MIP is international TV at its 
glossiest. All buyers and distributors of impor- 
tance attend, and while most people agree that 
deals usually don't get finalized here (all hype to 
the contrary), it's a must for public relations, 
information gathering, and strengthening con- 
nections. But unless you are prepared to be ex- 
tremely aggressive, or have lots of contacts and 
appointments set up prior to arriving in France, 
MIP can be a very lonely and unproductive ex- 
perience. 

Each year, MIP publishes a guide listing all 
participants' names, tide, company, address, 
phone and telex numbers. This is the interna- 
tional TV Bible, and you would be well advised to 




get your hands on a copy. Unfortunately, the only 
way to do this seems to be to attend MIP, since 
the guides are not sold or distributed separately. 
Other international TV markets of importance 
are Monte Carlo (usually held in the first part of 
February), MIFED (Milan in October), and the 
London Market, formerly the London Multi- 
Media Market, also in October. There is jockey- 
ing going on between MIFED and the London 
Market as to which will emerge as the dominant 
autumn event. MIFED is much older and more 
established and is a good place to reach the 
Italians, Scandinavians, and Eastern Europeans. 
The London Market is only three years old, and 
has had varying degrees of success. Both markets 
have their advocates. 

Once you actually start marketing your film, 
do not be surprised at the length of time it takes 
to get any response at all. Buyers are notorious 
for holding on to screening cassettes for weeks 
(even months!). Most people find that it takes at 
least a year to fully play out worldwide broad- 
cast options — from the time you first start mar- 
keting the film until it is picked up for broadcast. 

If an offer is made for your film, you or your 
distributor will negotiate the contract. Contract 
terms usually specify one broadcast within one 
year. (West Germany is an exception, often re- 
quiring three broadcasts in five years.) Deals are 
usually exclusive. Some elements you can nego- 
tiate (in addition to license fee, of course) are 
tape conversion costs, shipping charges, and 
when you will receive payment. 

Now, what you've been waiting for: money. 
First, let me say that many of the independent 
producers I've worked with have had wildly in- 
flated and unrealistic expectations. Producers 
are astonished to find that some countries, pri- 
marily in the Third World, pay license fees as 
low as $50-$ 150 for a 60-minute program. Most 
developed countries do a great deal better than 
that, but license fees may be a lot lower than you 
expected. 

The world broadcast market can be divided 
into three financial tiers. The top tier consists of 
Great Britain, Canada, France, Italy, West Ger- 
many, Australia and Japan. Average license fees 
for a 60-minute independently produced film 
can range from $5,O0O-$30,0O0. Features will 
bring more, and don't be surprised if you hear 
of licensing deals for Hollywood blockbusters 
{Gandhi, Star Wars, etc.) reaching stratospheric 
levels — $250,000 and up. Series such as Dallas 
and Dynasty can bring from $25,0OO-$75,O00 
per episode in these countries. Do not, however, 
expect your film to be bought for such sums. 

Mexico and Brazil float between tiers one and 
two, paying $4,000-$ 12,000 for 60-minute 
films, and up to $50,000 for Hollywood 
features. 

The second tier countries include Scandi- 
navia, Benelux countries, Austria, Spain, Switz- 
erland, New Zealand, Portugal, Greece, Ar- 
gentina, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Singapore, and 



Hong Kong. License fees for 60-minute films 
range from approximately $2,000-$5,000, with 
feature prices, again, slightly higher 
($3,00O-$2O,000). Most networks in these coun- 
tries are noncommercial, with fixed, standard 
fees, often paying a flat per-minute rate. 

The third tier is composed primarily of the 
Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and the Car- 
ibbean. License fees here range from $5O-$8O0, 
but with some countries (Colombia, Chile, 
Kuwait, Saudi Arabia) paying as much as 
$4,000-$6,000 for features. 

Eastern Europe is a category all its own. Prices 
are generally low, ranging from $400- $800 for a 
60-minute film. East Germany and the Soviet 
Union are the biggest, most lucrative markets, 
with prices for features ranging from 
$4,000-$8,000. However, deals are hard to get 
and relatively rare. 

Variety publishes an average listing of world- 
wide broadcast license fees at least once a year; 
while the figures are usually accurate, their inter- 
pretation is very important. Remember that they 
represent an average of all programs licensed, so 
the license fees for independent, non-commercial 
material tend to be lower than is often indicated. 

International distribution is a complex, time- 
consuming process with ever-changing variables. 
You may find that being your own distributor is 
difficult and frustrating. I believe that for most 
producers a good relationship with a profes- 
sional distributor is a key to success — although I 
am of course biased, having worked as a profes- 
sional distributor for several years. As part of his 
or her job, a distributor is expected to have the 
knowledge it may take you several months to 
gain. A distributor should have good contacts 
with buyers, and will attend the major interna- 
tional markets and festivals, in addition to mak- 
ing other international business trips throughout 
the year. A distributor can plot strategies to take 
advantage of all possible "windows" for your 
film, making sure that every market is fully ex- 
ploited. Of special importance to producers, dis- 
tributors can package films, thereby enhancing 
licensing opportunities. A distributor should have 
expertise in negotiating contracts, and, based on 
ongoing relationships with buyers, may be able to 
obtain higher license fees. But whether you choose 
to work with a distributor or plan to do your own 
distribution, it's crucial to be informed about the 
realities of the marketplace. 

This is the first in a series of articles about inter- 
national broadcast markets. Subsequent articles 
will examine markets on an individual, country- 
by-country basis. 

Debra Wells has been an international dis- 
tributor at WNET/Thirteen and Fox/Lorber 
Associates, Inc. Most recently she has worked as 
a commercial video specialist and as a freelance 
writer. 

© Debra Wells 1985 



THE INDEPENDENT 45 




Kathleen Hulser 



Independent media activity in the United States 
matured during the past few decades, and many 
of its founders have professionalized their work, 
finally penetrating at least the edges of the main- 
stream. Already some producers distribute 
through cinemas, public television, home video, 
and cable. As for video, although money is still 
scarce, the art world now accepts video as worthy 
of exhibition and incorporation in modern art 
history. Meanwhile, somewhere along to the 
road to respectability, social urgency and formal 
pizzazz seem to have been lost. And the funding 
and equipment crisis hitting newcomers, dissi- 
dents, and grassroots media activists threatens the 
survival of independent media. But all is not lost. 
Public access cable, a widespread but under- 
used outlet for community media, offers hope to 
independents — and might rescue the impulse of 
cultural democracy which originally spawned 
this movement. Public access cable is attractive 
in three significant ways that may ultimately 
make it a hospitable venue for independents and 
their community allies. Access radically reshapes 
the problem of audience, traditionally independ- 
ents' weak point; for once, an independent pro- 
ducer can expect to see finished work piped into 
the homes of the many — though not all, since 
lower income neighborhoods are last and least 
cabled. The 1 ,000-plus access centers which have 
sprung up in the last decade offer a truly local 
base for production. And, if independents align 
themselves with some obvious friends, the 
combination of local forces may bring an au- 
dience and and community integration (with 
some resulting attention) that could add up to a 
solid financial base and a serious connection to 
those people supposedly served by independent 
films and tapes. 



aids an imp< 




In "Depot Duet," made for "Vertical Interval," Los Angeles's glided age train station part- 
ners a local choreographer. 



So far, this alliance is a theoretical con- 
struct — mostly because many independents re- 
main wary of the "low quality" of access. In the 
past, independents have concentrated on reach- 
ing the largest possible audiences, with only par- 
tial success. What that effort demanded was in- 
creased "professionalism." Brainwashed by 
years of distribution trouble, producers worry 
that without a pro look their work will be ig- 
nored. But access doesn't have gatekeepers in- 
sisting that thousands be spent to achieve a high 
quality look. Accessers simply forge ahead with 
available means, confident that their wire into 
homes will reach some viewers. Still, some pro- 
ducers fear contamination by association with 
low-tech access. But if the quality issue is viewed 
in the context of local communications, instead 
of high art aesthetics or pubtic television's 
norms, the temptation to democratize com- 
munications may win over many independents. 
And their contributions can help energize a new 
area of cultural creativity — no mean accom- 
plishment for media activists. 

One project mounted last spring in the South 
exemplifies such an alliance. Through the efforts 



46 THE INDEPENDENT 



of Steve Suitts of the Southern Regional Coun- 
cil, the Atlanta Media Project, Gark College, 
and 40 southern cable systems, special program- 
ming covered the spring presidential primaries 
in the region. Southern Network assembled ma- 
terials, grilled candidates on local concerns, and 
edited the results into an overnight package, 
feeding a two-hour magazine format to the 
1.25-million subscribers of the participating 
cable systems. This went on five days a week for 
nine weeks. Ambitious? In more than one way. 
Much of the studio work was shot by students. A 
mix of local origination cable staffers, inde- 
pendents, local print journalists, and students 
blanketed the field. A team of editors working 
nights in Atlanta boiled down the footage which 
was then fed via a donated satellite transponder. 
This was more than an exercise in local pride. It 
showed how people with different levels of skill 
could cooperate in an ad hoc structure which 
drew on cable's potential. 

Local news, magazine formats, and single is : 
sue shows are public access staples, which offer 
the kind of ongoing exposure for alternative 
views that cable's multiple channels once pro- 

JANU ARY / FEBRUARY 1985 



feet video 



p*M*ukJ you fdvor aUSWiu 
vents ro be fined Jf their" 
,o$ed chronic dSctpiihe 

1 YES 

2 NO 

0. Undecided; 






There's nothing like an illusion of choice— 
which is what you get when you believe in 
the interactivity of Interactive cable. 
"Dallas Interacts" is an example. 




Palo Alto council member Klein decides 
to change his vote on the nuclear freeze 
during a town meeting recorded for public 
access. 

mised: the "marketplace of ideas." (The argu- 
ment that a markeplace of ideas will follow from 
the availability of multiple channels is derived 
from economic theories of free enterprise. 
Although cable TV's expansion has not pro- 
duced such diversity, these theories have been used 
as a deregulation rallying point by the current 
Republican administration.) In Decatur, Georgia, 
for example, the access news show provides the 
only local television coverage. The news report has 
won acceptance from both viewers and news- 
makers as a part of the media scene, and it is also 
transmitted by neighboring cable systems. 

In Palo Alto, California, an activist made a 
Vi " recording of a city council meeting where a 
local freeze resolution was on the evening's agen- 
da. The ensuing debate over whether the motion 
belonged in the city council's jurisdiction pre- 
sents a fascinating rendition of the effect of 
public discussion on changing elected officials' 
minds. Most council members initially opposed 
considering the matter, but after 40 citizens had 
testified they were moved to pass the measure. 
Such exposure prods local officals toward great- 
er accountability, says George Stoney, who has 

JANUARY / FEBRUARY 1985 



organized and championed access for over a 
decade. He notes that even a minor feat such as 
making an official's face familiar leads to small 
shifts in public awareness, making officials more 
likely to be confronted by constituents on the 
street or in the supermarket. World Peace Is a 
Local Issue raises these topics, although the piece 
suffers from truly horrendous technical quality: 
the audio was so muddy that the tape required 
subtitles. This is noteworthy, not as a recom- 
mendation that all access be audio-video scrib- 
ble, but as a reminder that content, not technical 
quality, is the point. 

The series is one television format that has sur- 
vived on cable — for good reason. With a pleth- 
ora of channels, it's quite useful to have an iden- 
tity linked to a regular slot, especially since cable 
companies still devote little or no attention to 
public access listings and program descriptions. 
A series format, when not governed by cretinous 
constraints on subject matter and style, can help 
build a regular audience because people will 
know when to tune in. Also, it's a lot cheaper to 
publicize a regular access series than, say, a film 
opening. The series concept in access is best de- 
ployed to attract a specific public. The famous 
concept of narrowcasting, no sooner invented 
for cable than dropped, has actually been realized 
in access. 

What is narrowcasting? Ideally, the term 
refers to programming that deliberately appeals 
to specific groups of people, either through its 
themes (pregnancy, canoeing) or its idiom (Cen- 
tral America shows which assume some 
background, gay humor). Narrowcasting 
mitigates one of television's most pervasive 
structural problems: addressing everyone and, as 
a result, addressing no one in a degrading man- 
ner. Narrowcasting died out instantly on cable 
commercial channels because, for the most part, 
cable is commercial TV; narrow audiences can- 
not be exploited as a market. But narrow- 
casting — in its positive, non-market applica- 
tions — works for public access shows that appeal 
to an audience previously ignored. 

Members of one not so narrow group, women, 
have been some of the earliest and most eager 
respondents to the challenge of access. Cable, 
especially access, has proved more open to 
women than any other single branch of the 
media. Chapters of the National Organization of 
Women in Wisconsin exchange tapes with one 
another — one of the few examples of a function- 
ing tape bicycle. In Pittsburgh, Hershow sprang 
from the concerns of media activists and women's 
groups. Now in its third year, the group has com- 
piled shows on the history of the Pittsburgh 
women's movement, drawing largely on confer- 
ence materials, and also offers a menu of in- 



ternational women's news, interviews with 
women artists, and sports. A presentation aimed 
at educating children about sexual abuse used 
puppets. The producer of that show, Kathleen 
Kampfe, notes that with the pending sale of the 
deluxe Warner Amex system to Tele- 
Communications, Inc., access producing may 
soon suffer. The Pittsburgh city government has 
been convinced by Wamex's complaints about 
the direct finances of its cable system and seems 
inclined to relieve the new operator of the com- 
munity service portions of the franchise. (As of 
this writing, however, the sale of the system has 
not been approved.) 

Similar to the neglect of women's program- 
ming, labor life and issues are conspicuously ab- 
sent from American television, but not from ac- 
cess. No cable system in a place like Pittsburgh 
would be complete without the steelworkers' 
voice, and the Mill Hunk Herald show fills the bill. 
Produced by some of the unionists who put out a 
feisty newspaper of the same name, the show 
isn't afraid to mix humor in with its more weigh- 
ty commentaries. For example, last year it spot- 
lighted the union fashion show: the latest in 
steel-toe boots and T-shirts. More recently, 
shows have dealt with the unemployment ravag- 
ing the industrial city. Tony Buba, an indepen- 
dent who lives in neighboring Braddock, has 
contributed some of his documentaries to the 
show and worked with the hunks. 

Another voice of labor speaks up outside of 
Minneapolis. Focus on Labor emanates from 
members of United Auto Workers Local 683. 
According to Tun Lovaas, its prime mover, the 
material runs on several cable systems and is list- 
ed in some suburban newspapers. His union has 
been "very supportive, and bought us a camera." 
The labor group has covered 3 1 events over the 
last four years and produced single issue shows 
on the demise of PATCO, the fate of OSHA, 
and union contract concessions. 

The Labor Film Club in New York got into the 
access act recently with Labor Journal. Shown 
once a month, the half-hour slot often runs inde- 
pendent films and tapes. One excellent show 
they produced themselves examined trade 
unions in El Salvador and the U.S. union 
response to government repression. The project 
coordinator, Carol Anshien, currently circulates 
that tape to other cable labor shows. 

These examples demonstrate that narrowcast- 
ing can work for individual series. What about 
the larger, glossier, and usually non-access- 
generated cable theme channels? Women's 
channels, programmed nationally, have 
multiplied over the last few years. It has been 
suggested that other women's programming be 
slotted along with the fare on these national 

THE INDEPENDENT 47 



channels, so interested audiences can pinpoint 
the subject amidst the variety. Likewise, the 
modest individual labor shows emanate from 
small groups, not a central union bureau as does, 
for example, the America Works series produced 
by the Labor Institute for Public Affairs, a pro- 
ject of the AFL-CIO. Would these small-scale 
endeavors work alongside their well-heeled 
cousins? The idea was debated in an issue of 
Community Television Review, the National 
Federal of Local Cable Programmers (NFLCP) 
magazine, partly because allying an access show 
with an ad-supported series was seen as a way to 
tap regular producing bucks. 

That was some time ago, and now most access 
advocates recoil from ads. But not all. Jaime Da- 
vidovitch ran his New York Live! Show first on 
public access and then for a year on leased access 
(like public access, leased access is open to all, 
first -come, first-served, but the user pays for the 
channel time, and is, in turn, allowed to sell ads). 
Davidovitch managed to round up enough 
advertising to pay the minimum costs of the 
show, and the ads reflected the artsy, ironic 
nature of the program. These pitched such pro- 
ducts as artist-made clothes and Real Life 
magazine, an art/literary journal. But Manhat- 
tan Cable TV raises its leased access rates every 
year, so shows that survive may thus ensure, 
through their success, their own demise. Like the 
Live! Show. 

Another case of ad-aided access is BCTV in 
Brattleboro, Vermont. This small town and its 
cable system don't have a lot of green to throw at 
democratic communications. That didn't dis- 
courage staffer Marshall Williams, who figured 
that the channel might profit from the absence 
of any local TV rivals. Offering a year's run of an 
ad for S500 attracted quite a few local merch- 
ants, allowing the channel to cover everything 
from town meeting spats over snow removal to 
poetry readings at nearby Marlboro College. 

The problem of a financial base worries ac- 
cesses. So far, the bulk of access funding has 
flowed from cable operators, seeking public im- 
age enhancement and complying with the fran- 
chises. But with a deregulating FCC in the saddle 
and HR 4103 signed and sealed [see "Com- 
promise or Compromised: Congress Passes 
Cable Bill," The Independent, December 1984], 
this assured funding stream may soon turn into a 
free-enterprise dust bowl. The NFCLP, con- 
cerned for the survival of its fledgling producing 
community, recommends a three-legged funding 
stool: cable operator money, a percentage of the 
franchise fee, and yearly helpings from the bud- 
gets of organizations — such as the National 
Organization of Women, the SPCA, the Little 
League, etc. — that most directly use and benefit 
from access. 

Some access centers have already achieved this 
mix. In other locales, the newer access set-ups 
may find that lack of a track record will in- 
hibit fund-raising. This is certainly an area where 
early independent participation could be mutu- 

48 THE INDEPENDENT 



ally beneficial. Showing examples of local inde- 
pendent work whets the appetite of a locality for 
democratic communications and, at the same 
time, gives independent work exposure. Involv- 
ing independents in the early stages on an access 
operation will ensure at least some use of the fa- 
cilities during the critical start-up period. And 
these contributions to access production will be 
remembered when the days of cooperative fin- 
ancing of projects become a reality. Independ- 
ents will also benefit from establishing direct 
relations with activists, and from a showcase for 
work, often so hard to find in smaller localities 
without contemporary art galleries or a sym- 
pathetic PTV station. 

One route out of the funding dilemma posed 
by insecure cable operator donations is to forge 
institutional alliances. Stoney cites access centers 
formed in schools: board of education money, if 
used in conjunction with the total freedom from 
content censorship which is access' pride and 
trademark, can provide an enlightened base for 
activities, along with space, equipment, and 
budding talent. One NFLCP Hometown Video 
Festival prize this year went to Princeton 
Newsweek, a news format show produced by 
students living in a suburb of Cincinnati. Early 
on, the show attracted favorable attention, and 
the superintendent of schools pried money from 
the mayor's budget to build a studio. The opera- 
tion went mobile when the school district donat- 
ed a retired handicapped bus, which Newsweek 
faithfuls rapidly convened into a traveling TV 
unit. "When the football players return for 
training camp in August, so do we," says Stan 
Everett, project coordinator. "Our TV camp 
prepares the kids for a year of producing. They 
don't get credits or grades for this extra- 
curricular activity, so only the most motivated 
come and stick with it." 

Beyond the obvious advantages of money, 
space, and community support, involving stu- 
dents brings other blessings in tow. Imagination 
and a feeling of freedom aren't always easy to 
stimulate in the novice videomaker, but the 
young don't often have the problem that one ca- 
ble access staffer called "the Himalaya of access" : 
confidence. And the TV, vid-game fed youth of 
today are likely to have imbibed some sense of 
visual storytelling after all those years glued to the 
tube. Meanwhile', modest means of production 
may help to guide their imaginations away from 
the temptation of electronic extravaganza. 

Low-tech is a way of life for access, a coun- 
terweight to the profligate industry norm. Sue 
Miller Buske, head of NFLCP, says that Vi " in- 
dustrial equipment is spreading. "It's light, it's 
tough, and it costs about half as much as a V* " 
portable rig." In Atlanta, Vi " production is the 
custom for the 200 to 250 producers who work 
regularly with access, except for productions 
that are expected to circulate widely. Atlanta 
producing team James Bond and Dick Richards 
shoot the weekly American Music Show in their 
apartment with their own Vi " equipment. The 




"Trip to Paris" unveils some of the most seduc 




Andrew Wolf, the subject of another access s 
the same concentration and fervor. 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1985 





jres of romantic Texas. 




tices the piano and housecleaning with 



JANUARY/ FEBRUARY 1985 



funky, talky format is a kind of animated radio, 
occasionally lightened with such location pseu- 
do-events as "the burning of Atlanta," a tale of 
demented terrorism and Southern nihilism 
strange to behold. In Dallas, John Leveranz and 
other producers of A rtsEye shot a low- tech show 
in !/2 " called Trip to Paris. Highlights of the 
deadpan mini-epic included a survey of the Paris, 
Texas art community, visits to the fashion 
center of Main Street, and stunning shots of the 
Mediterranean coast between Dallas and Paris. 
In contrast, Dallas also spawned the stupidest 
high-tech access show encountered in this re- 
search. Dallas Interacts asked the viewers mo- 
ronic questions, like whether they favored fines 
for parents of students who acted out in school. 
Trip to Paris raises some interesting questions 
about style, content, and the nature of access. 
Like the American Music Show and the Live! 
Show, humor makes this access accessible. 
While using documentary methods — the Paris 
crew didn't set up scenes, recruit actors, dig up 
costumes, etc. — the piece isn't a documentation 
of someone else's activity. Many of the arts ac- 
cess formats showcased at last summer's 
NFLCP conference were precisely that: a record 
of an event, work, or artist. When successful, 
this approach can be enticing. For example, in 
Alhambra, California, cable-staffer Anne- 
Marie Piersimoni has pioneered a format that in- 
serts the arts into regular cable fare. Vertical In- 
terval consists of documentary segments on the 
arts which run between programs anywhere on 
the cable dial. In one, Los Angeles artist Harry 
Gamboa confesses that he's not sure how his 
identity as a Chicano influences his work as a 
photographer and performance artist. In anoth- 
er Vertical Interval, a dancer/choreographer 
performs a piece created for the camera in the 
baroque Los Angeles train station. By exploring 
the special qualities of this special site, the dancer 
wins our interest, which might not have happen- 
ed if she had concentrated on competing with the 
technical feats seen on Dance in America. 
Another example of favorable localism in the 
arts documentation is a half-hour work made in 
Newton, Massachusetts, about pianist Andrew 
Wolf. Steering clear of the star-bio genre por- 
traits of a classical musician, Andrew Wolf 
Variations sees the virtuoso as performer, 
teacher, administrator of a music school, house- 
spouse, and neurotic. The intimate tone of the 
documentary climaxes in a moment of self-par- 
ody when Wolf talks about vacuuming compul- 
sively as a relief from the dreaded routine of 
practicing: "When it seems to be getting worse 
and worse, the more I practice." Caryn RogofPs 
Not-for-Profit TV in New York City is built 
around documenting performances and other 
events which would not otherwise make it to the 
tube. She believes that this visit-to-a-live-event 
technique suits the appetite of access for fast and 
easy production. Not-for-Profit documentaries 
have included excerpts from a Mass Transit 
Theater play, performance by the Human Condi- 



tion band, and selections from the Artists' Call 
on Central America held last January. 

Documentation of the arts by no means ex- 
hausts the possibilities of access, and it's likely 
that invention and fantasy may be the access 
wave of the future. Not only is there a limit on 
how many events and artists flourish locally, the 
experience of repeatedly handling equipment 
and making shows is sure to infect some access 
producers with the urge to make up their own- 
material. Already, in New York City, several art- 
ist-made TV shows have run for years, from 
Cast Iron TV to Paper Tiger TV, Potato Wolf to 
the Live! Show. While most of these are now suf- 
fering from burn-out, arts council defunding, 
and even creative fatigue, the outlook for access- 
es in less pressured environments is better. 

These trends indicate what George Stoney sus- 
pected at the outset of access: home-made com- 
munity television is part of our cultural 
language, and that's its importance — beyond the 
success of any individual show. The warmth of 
its direct address rests on local reference points. 
These range from knowledge of place (the best 
buffalo wallow, the most hectic hour at Vinnie's 
bar and restaurant), regional accent and humor 
(people speak in their own rhythms, counteract- 
ing the speech standardization of national televi- 
sion), and local personality (talking history from 
the town's only resident who fought in the 
Spanish Civil War or the last chicken farmer left 
in the county). This particularity makes access, 
with its "low production values," watchable— 
and engaging. It gives actess the character of a 
fiesta, not a spectacle (during the Hawaii Handi- 
capped Marathon, a man tells how he turned 
home when he wheeled by his street during the 
race, compared to the abusively patriotic Olym- 
pic coverage). 

As access develops and finds its feet, I think 
we will see video-griots emerging in local produc- 
tions where the style of presentation and regional 
content reinforce one another. The quality of ac- 
cess should be assessed in terms of its reclama- 
tion of a piece of the TV wasteland for a dif- 
ferent kind of expression. As Julio Garcia 
Espinosa points out in his essay, "Towards an 
Imperfect Cinema," the emerging Cuban cinema 
in the 1960s reflected the way it was produced, 
and this poor look counted for it. 

Towards an imperfect video is an appropriate 
framework for understanding access. Technical 
limitations, far from posing an obstacle, are its 
greatest defence against being seen as the poor 
relation to the mass media. They're a reminder 
that respectability and gloss aren't the goal. 
They're a nudge to keep the material significant 
because triviality can't be hidden under a deluge 
of special effects and star anchors. By addressing 
people, not Nielsens, access has a fighting 
chance to become a home favorite. 

Kathleen Hulser is a journalist and media activist 
who has made one public access show. 

©Kathleen Hulser 1985 

THE INDEPENDENT 49 



I FESTIVALS 



The Cannes 
Game 



Dina and Marisa Silver 



Surrounding every movie that finds its way to 
theatrical distribution is the "buzz" — the word of 
mouth generated in anticipation of the film's 
theatrical debut. In the case of well- financed 
studio films, this is created by the extraordinary 
publicity that stars, famous directors and "high 
concept" story' lines can generate in combination 
with enormous advertising budgets. 

For independent filmmakers, the excitement 
surrounding a new film must frequently be gen- 
erated without the help of these dazzling carrots 
to dangle before the public's eye. But film 
festivals, and particularly the several highly pub- 
licized and internationally acclaimed ones, often 
create a perfect climate from which a small film 
can jump from oblivion into public awareness. 

We wanted our film Old Enough to be viewed 
at the Cannes Film Festival for two reasons: first 
was the knowledge that Orion Classics, our U.S. 
theatrical distributor, needed to create a buzz for 
Old Enough in order to manage a successful the- 
atrical run. We had to find a way to let people 
know this film existed — but with no stars, a first- 
time director and producer, no sex, no violence, 
no car chases, no aliens, this was not an easy bill 
to fill. Our second goal, since we controlled all 
foreign rights to the film, was to generate foreign 
sales. 

The Cannes Film Festival has an aura of im- 
penetrability. People always ask us how we got 
the film into Cannes, a£ if we might share some 
magical secret we had discovered. In fact, apply- 
ing to Cannes was no more mysterious than fill- 
ing out a two-page application and sending a 
copy of our film to France. A first film is eligible 
for entry into all three sections of the festival: the 
Main Competition, the Directors Fortnight, and 
the Critics Week. To maximize our odds, we ap- 
plied to all three sections, having been assured by 
the French Film Office in New York that this 
would not harm our chances. 

Our first telegram from Cannes gently in- 
formed us that Old Enough had not been 
selected for the Main Competition. A few days 
later we received a phone call: another rejection, 
this time from the Critics Week. By the end of 
March, we had heard nothing from our remain- 



ing hope, the Directors Fortnight, so we made 
our peace with rejection and scouted new ways 
to create the "buzz." 

One morning late in April, we got a phone call 
from Paris inviting Old Enough into the Direc- 
tors Fortnight. But our ecstatic celebrations were 
abruptly ended when it hit us that we had just 
three weeks to get ready for Cannes. 

What qualifies as "getting ready" for Cannes? 
For some films it means hiring airplanes and sky- 
writers to fly over the Croisette, Cannes' main 
avenue. For others it means advertising and pub- 
licity budgets that exceeded our entire produc- 
tion budget. We clearly couldn't compete on this 
level, but we knew that to make Old Enough visi- 
ble among the thousands of films screened in 
and out of competition at Cannes would require 
us to spend some money. 

Assimilating the advice of everyone we knew 
who knew Cannes, we determined our minimum 
publicity outlay: 500 posters (for wild posting); 
2,000 bilingual glossy press packets artistically 
coordinated with our poster and containing col- 
or and black-and-white photos and other perti- 
nent information; and 1,000 throw-aways to 
hand out on the days Old Enough was screened. 
In addition to these costs, the film had to be sub- 
titled in French, we hired European publicists, 
and we had to cover our flights and accommo- 
dations at the festival. Our grand total, including 
the several ads placed in Cannes' daily papers 
during our stay, came to $15,000 (which, for- 
tunately, we had allocated in our production 
budget for publicity purposes). 

This is a lot of money, but the name of the 
game at Cannes is creating a sense of urgency on 
the part of buyers and a "want to see" impulse 
among critics and opinion makers in relation to 
your film. It is possible to "do" Cannes with less 
money, and many filmmakers do just that. But 
as we look back, it's hard to determine where we 
might have cut corners, and what effect this belt 
tightening might have had. Whatever money 
you can spend at Cannes will increase your film's 
visibility at the festival, and will likely bring back 
to you more in foreign sales than would other- 
wise have been possible. 

It's hard to describe the chaos that is Cannes. 
Every day there is a sea of press events and gala 
parties, not to mention scores of screenings, 
meetings, pitches and random encounters all 
geared toward wooing a besieged press and buy- 
er community. Before we left for Cannes, 
everyone ardently suggested that we hire pub- 
licists for the U.S. and European press. A pro- 
found weight was lifted from our shoulders 
when Orion Classics hired a terrific publicist who 
handled our U.S. press coverage in Cannes. Ori- 
on Classics' presence was invaluable, not only 



because its efforts began generating word of 
mouth for Old Enough, stateside, but also be- 
cause it freed us to focus our energy on foreign 
sales. 

We were also told it was important to get 
foreign press coverage in order to entice foreign 
buyers to see our film. The well-established, in- 
ternationally connected publicists were priced 
way out of our market — about $7,000 for the 
two-week festival. Instead, we hired two young 
French publicists who were equipped to handle 
only the French press. Although they kept us 
quite busy with interviews and photo sessions, in 
retrospect we think that our own press kits, ubi- 
quitous posters and ads sufficed. 

We spent 10 days at Cannes prior to Old 
Enough's screenings constantly strategizing. 
Where shall we put the posters? When shall we 
put up the posters? If it rains (as it did every day), 
should we reposter? How should we distribute 
the press packets? Whom should we target indi- 
vidually among both the press and the buyers? 
Must the packets be hand delivered? How might 
we notify buyers of our post-screening party, in- 
tended to initiate sales discussions? Such con- 
cerns seemed urgent and critical to the film's suc- 
cess. We were plagued by doubts. Would anyone 
come to see the movie? Would they even know it 
was here? What if it poured the night of our 
screening? Would they ever choose Old Enough 
over the star-studded films of the main competi- 
tion? Were our screenings too late in the festival? 
Would all the important buyers have already left 
the festival for sunnier climes? 

To compensate for what we perceived to be 
the disorder and frenzy all around us, we deter- 
minedly tried to control and create our film's 
destiny at the festival. But the whirling dervish 
that is Cannes has an energy and system and or- 
der all its own, and it cannot be shaped or out- 
guessed. No amount of Herculean effort can 
change the weather, screening schedules, or an au- 
dience's response to your film. 

After all your publicity and marketing stra- 
tegies have been set into gear, your most power- 
ful assets are your mouth and your energy. You 
must always be "on," speaking effortlessly and 
excitedly about your film as if you had never 
discussed it before. Allow yourself to crash from 
the repetition and tedium only in the privacy of 
your hotel room. 

The pay-off for all this hope and worry is the 
screening itself. In the pouring rain, on the night 
of our Cannes premiere, Old Enough played to 
an overflow crowd, and the feeling was extraor- 
dinary. Somehow we had created a certain heat 
around our film. We'll never know whether our 
strategies and publicity materials had done the 
trick, or whether something intangible and ran- 



50 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1985 



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dom had sparked the interest. It was probably a 
bit of both. 

In the days following Old Enough's screenings 
we negotiated with various foreign buyers and 
distributors, personalizing what must later be 
done via telex and telephone. Since the number 
of buyers at Cannes is seemingly infinite, and 
since as newcomers we had no particular mech- 
anism to assess which companies were solid and 
which were fly-by-night, the opportunity to 
check someone out face to face was invaluable. 

Cannes is more about "deals" than it is about 
films. The opportunity to sell your product is at 
its peak. If someone really wants your movie for 
a certain territory, you've got a fair amount of 
leverage at Cannes because competition among 
buyers for films raises the purchase price. If 
you're offered a good deal at Cannes, close on it 
there. Capitalize on the pressures of buyers to 
purchase product. 

You can maximize your film's potential at 
Cannes by arriving prepared with good press 
materials and by talking your film up wherever 
you go. A powerful poster image with the date 
and times of your screenings has tremendous im- 
pact. At the same time, it's good to realize that 
there is order in the madness. People come to 
Cannes to see films: they will come to your 
screenings. Buyers are there to purchase product: 
they will approach you if they are interested. Ar- 
rive prepared and ready to do some hustling, but 



also relax a bit, sit back and enjoy the show. 



Marisa Silver is a film director living in New 
York. Dina Silver is an independent film pro- 
ducer, also New York-based. The sisters col- 
laborated on Old Enough, which marks a 
feature film debut for each. 



The Cannes Film Festival will take place May 
8-20. Deadlines for entry are not available at this 
time; interested filmmakers should contact the 
French Film Office, 745 Fifth Avenue, New 
York, NY 10151; tel. (212) 832-8860. The Film 
Office can also tell you when Official Section 
director Gilles Jacob and Directors Fortnight 
director Pierre-Henri Deleau will visit the U. S. 
Send a letter describing your film to the section 
you are interested in and cc it to the French Film 
Office. Within the Official Section there are 3 
categories: In Competition: open to features or 
shorts made within the previous 12 months and 
not entered in another event; Out-of-Competi- 
tion: features which do not qualify for competi- 
tion because they are previous award winners; A 
Certain Look: significant work in fields of in- 
novative features, documentaries, compilation 
films — a catch-all for those which, again, do not 
qualify for competition. No U.S. independents 
were screened in The Official Section in '84. Ap- 



plications for this section can be obtained from 
Festival International du Film, 71, rue du 
Faubourg St. Honore, F 75008; tel. 1 266 92 20; 
telex: 650765 F. Category 2 is the Critics Week, 
which in '84 featured Billy Woodbury's Bless 
Their Little Hearts. They accept first or second 
features only, narrative or documentary, com- 
pleted within 2 years prior to the festival and not 
entered in any major European festival. Con- 
tact: Robert Chazal, President, Semaine Inter- 
national de la Critique, 73, rued'Anjou, F 75008 
Paris, France; tel: 1 38736 16; telex: 650407/408. 
Films for this section are screened in France. All 
shipping and insurance fees are the responsibility 
of the filmmaker. Subtitles are not required for 
preview; workprints may be submitted. Send a 
script in French. The 3rd section is the Directors 
Fortnight which in '84 featured Bette Gordon's 
Variety, Jim Jarmusch's Stranger Than Paradise 
(which won the Camera d' Or for best first fea- 
ture) and Old Enough. Open to features, docu- 
mentaries, and animation made within the past 
12 months and not shown outside its country of 
origin. Contact: Quinzaine de Realisateurs, 
Societe des Realisateurs de Films, 215 rue du 
Faubourg St. Honore, F 75008 Paris, France; 
tel: 1 561 01 66; telex: 220064 (ref: 1311). For the 
Film Market, which runs concurrently with the 
festival but is administered separately, your film 
cannot have been entered in MIFED, nor be over 
1 year old. A 11 formats can be screened inexpen- 



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JANUARY/ FEBRUARY 1985 



sively. If accepted, films must be subtitled in 
French at the filmmaker's expense and possibly 
blown up to 35mm. 



ASIAN AMERICAN 
INTERNATIONAL FILM 
FESTIVAL: THE OLD WORLD 
AND THE NEW 

The Asian American International Film Festival 
is meant to promote and highlight the filmmak- 
ing accomplishments of Asians and Asian 
Americans. It is organized by Asian CineVision 
(New York's Chinatown-based community 
media center headed by Peter Chow), prcfc- 
grammed by Asian Americans and exhibited at 
the Rosemary, a Chinese-language theater in 
New York's Chinatown. The interconnectedness 
and common needs of this group, beyond the 
promotion of their individual films, forces us to 
analyze the execution of this festival as a service 
for, by, and of a definite ethnic group with 
specific needs as artists, filmmakers and viewers. 
Despite the retrenchment tactics by govern- 
ment arts funding organizations like the Na- 
tional Endowment for the Arts, which has 
severely restricted the flow of grants to minority 
producers, the Asian American filmaking com- 



munity has managed to maintain a level of pro- 
duction high enough to support the existence of 
the AAIFF. In 1983, three of the films in the 
festival were also screened at the New York Film 
Festival. But by all accounts, 1984 has not been a 
watershed year for Asian American filmmakers. 
Two of the films in this spring's festival, Yaping 
Wang's East to West, and Jason Hwang's After- 
birth, were rejected by the AAIFF in 1983, only 
to be accepted for exhibition, upon being re- 
submitted in '84. Jim Yee, director of the Na- 
tional Asian American Telecommunications 
Association (NAATA) in San Francisco, called 
1984 "one of those in-between years." Still, in 
1984 Asian Cine Vision presented five Asian 
American documentaries, four Asian American 
narratives, and six native Asian feature nar- 
ratives over a weekend, out of approximately 
twice that many works submitted. 

The pull between the two sources of films — 
the U.S. and Asia — has created an unprecedent- 
ed situation for festival organizers. Begun in 
1978 as a strictly Asian American festival, Asian 
works were soon included for practical reasons — 
not enough Asian American works were 
available and they were not strong enough 
to justify the festival's potential expansion. 
Originally held at the New York University's 
Tisch Auditorium over a period of three 
weekends, the festival provided an atmosphere 
in which Asian groups could gather and ex- 



change literature and ideas. The move to a com- 
mercial theater along with the telescoping of the 
festival into a single weekend enhanced the 
popular appeal of the festival, bringing in a 
larger and more ethnically mixed audience, as 
well as legitimizing the festival in the eyes of the 
local press, whose coverage increased. The 
downside of this restructuring has been that tight 
scheduling has prevented a comprehensive over- 
view of all the films, and the identity of the 
festival risks becoming confused when clear lines 
are not drawn between the Asian and the Asian 
American films. One filmmaker pointed out that 
lumping together a James Wong Howe retro- 
spective with leftists documentaries and films 
from six different Asian countries "takes away 
from the impact of each." 

Casey Lum, festival manager, has said in ref- 
erence to the Asian films, "If the film doesn't 
express anything about society or culture, 
we're not interested. They have lots of places to 
be shown. They don't need us and we don't want 
them." Amy Chen of the selection committee 
has echoed the political convictions of the 
festival by saying that they are not looking for 
overtly commercial works, and reject those with 
sexist or racist overtones. The inclusion of more 
Asian features is definitely responsible for the in- 
creased popularity of the screenings among the 
Asian community, which is not accustomed to 
seeing work about the problems of Asian Ameri- 



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THE INDEPENDENT 53 



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cans. Chow and company have proposed an ex- 
pansion of Asian films to include all the Asian 
countries, and that programming and schedul- 
ing decisions be concentrated within the ACV 
staff. In 1984 the selection committee did not 
have as great an input into the festival as it did in 
the past. The problem here, by most accounts, is 
that ACV seems to be in a state of perpetual 
reorganization, depending largely on volunteers 
with no festival organizing experience. Staff 
members leave because New York offers so 
many other opportunities (not to mention the 
"burn-out" factor). As participating producers 
and programmers noted, a vision of growth 
possibilities and a commitment to being either 
staff directed or maintaining a looser structure 
are needed. 

As a positive experience for filmmakers and as 
a cultural force, the benefits of the festival are 
clear. According to Janet Yang, co-producer of 
East to West, "Had it not been for this festival, 
the film could not have been in other festi- 
vals — and various non-theatrical exhibitors 
would not have called." Jim Yee credits the 
festival for "soliciting films not normally seen, 
for setting an important precedent as a model for 
other parts of the country in terms of cultural 
media." Chris Choy, whose documentary fea- 
ture Mississippi Triangle had its New York 
premiere at the festival in 1984 noted, "Because 
of the festival, programmers have become aware 
of a whole group of filmmakers. " She cited New 
York's Asia Society as an outlet which has ex- 
panded its screening series to include Asian 
American productions. And San Francisco- 
based documentarian Loni Ding, who screened 
her most recent work, Nisei Soldier: Standard 
Bearer for an Exiled People in 1984, said she sup- 
ports the festival "politically, and because of 
what it does for filmmakers." She said that ACV 
did a "good job" with the festival in New York 
and that "it seems to be improving every year." 
She continued, "Precisely because it is a minori- 
ty festival, it helps to strengthen the credibility 
and legitimacy of this kind of film for the view- 
ing public." Darryl Chin, one of the festival's 
programmers, said "It's a way for filmmakers to 
get involved in Asian American media groups if 
they haven't already, and of finding out what's 
happening in other cities." 

ACV oversees the logistical minutae for the 
festival, coordinating the festival in New York 
and overseeing its distribution to a growing list of 
cities nationwide. Ding explained, "New York 
has a strong Asian American base and strong 
film base. ACV's job is to make connections 
around the country. You have to have a core 
group around the country. You've got to have 
site coordinators with commitment." Choy 
noted, "The press screenings were usually not 
that well attended, and could be better organ- 
ized." Jason Hwang explained that journalists 
attending the conferences seemed to lack a con- 
text for seeing the importance of a S3, 000 film 
with a message rather than a $20 million film 



from Hollywood, but added that he hoped the 
festival screenings would expose them to "new 
ways of making films and ideas not common to 
the mass market." One filmmaker suggested 
that the New York opening night benefit might 
be more useful if it were "classier," giving cor- 
porate and individual sponsors an opportunity 
to meet filmmakers. "The festival will improve 
incrementally. As they prove they are important 
and doing a good job they'll get more money, 
creating a snowball effect." Liim noted that 
both a representative from the People's Republic 
of China embassy and one from the Chinatown 
Community Benevolent Association, a pro- 
Taiwanese group, attended the affair, apparent- 
ly ending a hostility which had been expressed by 
conservative groups to ACV when pro- and anti- 
Communist films were first screened together. 

The national tour, for which filmmakers are 
paid, but which may tie up a filmmaker's work 
for four months, elicits mixed comments. The 
1984 tour began in Vancouver at the Pacific 
Cinema before going on to FACETS Muli- 
Media in Chicago, the Organization of Ten 
Asian Women in Washington D.C., the 
Neighborhood Film Project in Philadelphia, 
NAATA in San Francisco, the Asian American 
Resource Workshop in Boston, and ending up at 
Houston's Southwest Alternate Media Center. 
ACV delivers the film shipment to the first city 
along with 300 copies of the poster. Lum said 
that "ACV tries to be the central coordinator for 
the whole tour," providing filmmakers with a list 
of cities and dates; but almost all of the Asian 
films, along with Mississippi Triangle, were 
withheld because of distribution hang-ups, 
requiring each city to negotiate separately for 
"them. NAATA accepted only David Chan's 
Kind of Yellow from the festival, choosing to put 
together its own package. But outside of the 
coasts, organizations do not necessarily have the 
capacities to stage a festival of Asian and Asian 
American films or the contacts to find the Asian 
features which will bring in audiences; as Ding 
says, "ACV has not had the money to make per- 
sonal contacts [in other cities] to train anyone to 
make a festival." She added, "Aspects need to 
be worked out. It's not as organized as it should 
be," citing films which arrive in the wrong can 
and lack of technical skills on the part of the 
media center workers. But she said the tour is 
essential to building "a critical mass, a national 
identity" among Asian Americans throughout 
the country. Renee Tajima, 1983 film selector 
and former ACV administrative director, said, 
"The festival is very important for the improved 
development and presence of Asian American 
film. But it needs to have a staff with experience 
organizing festivals . ' ' — Robert A aronson 

The 1985 Asian American International Film 
Festival will be held in June. Deadline: Feb. 
Festival is non-competitive and welcomes sub- 
missions in 16 and 35mm in any length or genre. 
No entry fee; films may be previewed on 



54 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/ FEBRUARY 1985 



cassette. Film must have an Asian or Asian 
American as primary producer or director; films 
made by non-Asians will be considered only if 
they deal in an outstanding manner with a sub- 
ject of vital importance to the Asian or Asian 
American community. Newer films given priority. 
Material must originate on film. Contact Casey 
Lum, Asian CineVision, 32 East Broadway, NY, 
NY 10002; tel: (212) 925-8685. 



ATHENS: SMALL CLASSIC 

"Laid back" and "low key" were two expres- 
sions used frequently to describe the 1984 Athens 
International Film Festival. Don't go there ex- 
pecting to sell; don't go there expecting to make 
high-powered deals; don't go expecting 
glamour. Do go to see lots of good work, to meet 
interesting people and to talk about film in a 
relaxed atmosphere. 

Supported by a strong reputation as a show- 
case for independently made films and video, 
Athens enters its twelfth season with some 
changes. For the first time the three compon- 
ents — a film festival, a video festival and a film 
conference — will be held separately, partially 
because the video was being overshadowed by 
the films. 

The festival's new director, Emily Cahners, 
took over last year from Guillio Scalinger, who 
founded the festival and ran it for ten years. She 
had the difficult task of coming to the festival 
with little time to get oriented, with an enormous 
budget cut, a former "reign" to be compared to, 
little festival-directing experience, a staff of new 
young inexperienced student volunteers, and an 
eleventh-year season which inevitably would be 
compared to the very gala tenth-year celebration 
of 1983. Given all that, I think she not only put 
on a good festival but promises to become a 
splendid director; however, while researching 
this article, I heard many of last year's par- 
ticipants express feelings of disappointment 
about the festival. Among the complaints were 
the small amounts of prize money, the dearth of 
publicity, small audiences, and transporta- 
tion difficulties. But the festival's budget was 
recently increased, which should solve some of 
these problems. 

Plans for the 1985 season sound exciting. The 
theme is "Exploring National Cinemas"; in- 
dependent filmmaking in three yet-to-be- 
decided countries will be examined in-depth with 
screenings, guests, panel discussions and 
workshops. The number of features presented 
will be increased to about 30 films. Cahners says 
that efforts will be made to build a larger com- 
munity audience. 

Athens combines feature presentations (U.S. 
and foreign independents) with films in competi- 
tion. Many of the guests — filmmakers whose 
work is being shown or who are giving work- 
shops — are also judges. Last year's theme was 



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"Alternatives to HoUywooa"; guests included 
Peter Greenaway (The Draughtsman's Con- 
tract), experimentalist Peter Rose, and Herby 
Smith and Elizabeth Barret of Appalshop in 
Kentucky. The competition itself includes a wide 
range of categories, including documentary, 
short story, animation, experimental, perfor- 
mance, education, instructional, comedy, and 
Super-8. 

Athens is a small college town in southern 
Ohio — a rural, Appalachian area. One of the 
festival's goals is to bring otherwise unseen films 
into the area. As the only festival in the region, it 
attracts area film and videomakers, media peo- 
ple and artists, although not many distributors 
or buyers attend unless they are there in their 
capacity of judges. But, as Herby Smith of Ap- 
palshop said, "Athens' weakness is also its 
strength." While its isolation discourages atten- 
dance, it also provides an atmosphere conducive 
to long informal discussions about film with in- 
teresting people who are easily met among the 
sparse crowd. It was very simple, distributor Ron 
Epple told me, to get together with Peter Rose 
and Peter Greenaway for a wonderful lunchtime 
conversation. 

What about facilities? Four screening rooms 
in town run a continuous variety of feature 
presentations, feature-length competitive films, 
and shorter films. Projection systems are good. 
A very classy, informative, easy-to-read cat- 
alogue is put out with schedules, descriptions of 
films, biographies of guests. 

The best film in each category receives the 
Golden Athena (which was $100 last year, but 
promises to be more in 1985). There are also 
special merit awards in each category. The 
judges are asked to write comments about each 
film, which are sent to entrants after the festival. 
Last year's winners included Seventeen by Joel 
DeMott and Jeff Kreines in the feature category; 
Machine Story by Doug Miller in animation; and 
The Business of America. . . by Larry Adelman 
of California Newsreel in the social/political 
documentary category. — Josephine Dean 

Deadline: Feb. 18. Fees from S10-S65, depend- 
ing on length. Cassettes accepted for preview. 
Festival will pay return shipping for U.S. films. 
Applications available from AIVF (send SASE) 
or by calling Emily Calmers. Contact: Athens 
Center for Film and Video, P.O. Box 338, 
Athens, OH 45701; tel. (614) 594-6888. 

Josephine Dean is a documentary filmmaker liv- 
ing in New York City. 

IN BRIEF 

This month's, festivals have been 
compiled by Robert Aaronson and 
Deborah Erickson. Listings do not 
constitute an endorsement, and 

since some details change faster 
than we do, we recommend that 



you contact the festival for further 
information before sending prints or 
tapes. If your experience differs 
from our account, please let us 
know so we can improve our 
reliability. 



DOMESTIC 

• ATLANTA FILM AND VIDEO FESTIVAL, 
April 19-28. This 10th competition continues to at- 
tract high caliber judges: Peter Rose, Deirdre Boyle, 
Cindy Furlong & Warrington Hudlin in 1985. Au- 
diences vary with showtimes: matinees are virtually 
empty, while evening programs draw 50-75 people. 
Local TV, radio & newspaper cover the festival; local 
TV stations & businesses provide $5,000 in cash & 
equipment; divided in 1984 among 8 video winners (in- 
cluding Flip Johnson's The Roar from Within & 
Seventeen by Joel Demott & Jeff Kreines) & 9 film 
winners (Invisible Citizens: Japanese-Americans by 
Keiko Tsuno, Possibly in Michigan by Cecilia Condit, 
& From the Hotel Will Rogers by Dan Boord). 1984's 
sell-out opener was Bette Gordon's Variety; Victor 
Nunez has been invited to present A Flash of Green 
this year. 16mm, S-8, Vi " & V* " accepted; narrative 
features are "really welcome." Deadline: Feb. 18. 
Fees: $10 up to 15 mins, $15: 15-29 mins; $20: 30-59 
mins; $25: 60 & over; $35 for distributors. Contact: 
IMAGE Film/Video Center, 972 Peachtree St., Ste. 
213, Atlanta, GA 30309; (404) 8744756. 

• BIRMINGHAM INTERNATIONAL EDUCA- 
TIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, March 24-30. 16mm & 
videocassette productions up to 60 minutes released 
since January 1983 are eligible to compete in 12 
categories & numerous subcategories for cash awards, 



statuettes & certificates. Separate prizes for films & 
video. Entry fees: $25-50 depending on length. 
Deadline: Jan. 20, after which entry fees go up until 
deadline of Feb. 1. Films selected for competition 
returned after final screening, April 25-May 5. 
Booklet with application available from: Birmingham 
International Educational Film Festival, c/o Alabama 
Power Company (the fest's main sponsors), P.O. Box 
2641, Birmingham, AL 35291. 

• NATIONAL EDUCATIONAL FILM FESTI- 
VAL, April 27-28. 350 16mm & V* " videotapes ex- 
pected to compete for awards in 13 subject categories, 
with a separate competition for students. Prize win- 
ning titles get high profile among national educational 
media buyers, particularly in California; works are ex- 
hibited in Los Angeles & Oakland. Productions must 
have been completed after Jan. 1 & may include 
drama as well as documentary & "other," as long as 
they have educational merit. Fees: $55-$l 15, depend- 
ing on length. Deadline: Feb. 1. Contact: NEFF, 314 
E. 10th St., Oakland, CA 94606. 

• USA FILM FESTIVAL, March 22-30. This festival 
has become an important stop on the independent cir- 
cuit, noted for strong selections & excellent judges. 
Devoted exclusively to U.S. films since its inception in 
1970, the USA Festival plans to be 90% independent 
this year. New director Bob Hull invited 15 films from 
the Independent Feature Project, but AIVF board 
member Barton Weiss of Dallas said, "Hull really 
didn't like much of what he saw. No one knows what 
to expect yet." Prizes for the newly competitive 
Discovery Showcase are $3,000, $2,000 & $1 ,000. The 
Short Film & Video Competition enters its 7th year 
with prizes of $1,000, $750, $500 & $350. Judges in- 
clude Charles Samu of HBO, Bill Sloan of MOMA, 
Texas documentarian Jan Krawitz, and Entertain- 
ment Tonight's Leonard Maltin. Weiss noted, "They 
tend to look for something more slick in shorts. Last 
year's winner, John Coles' Hellfire, was the only entry 



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56 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/ FEBRUARY 1985 



Video 
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video D ata Rank 

presents 



Max Almy 
Eleanor Antin 
Carlos Anzaldua 
Michel Auder 
John Baldessan 
Annette Barbier 
Judith Barry 
D. L. Bean 
Liza Bear 
David Belle 
Beth Berolzheimer 
Dara Birnbaum 
Lyn Blumenthal 
Mary Ida Bonadio 
Drew Browning 
John Caldwell 
Doris Chase 
Cecelia Condit 
Isaac Cronin 
Arturo Cubacub 



Teddy Dibble 
Frank Dietrich 
Bonnie Donohue 
Jane Fay 
Ken Femgold 
Wayne Fielding 
Matthew Geller 
Copper Giloth 
Doug Hall 
Bob Harris 
Bernard Hasken 
Karl Hauser 
Tehching Hsieh 
Peter Keenan 
Daniel Klepper 
Carole Ann Klonandes 
Margia Kramer 
Mitchell Kreigman 
Shigeko Kubota 
Suzanne Lacy 



Barbara Latham 
John Manning 
Pier Marton 
Mark McKernin 
Jeanine Mellinger 
Branda Miller 
Zsuzsa Molnar 
Linda Montano 
Meredith Monk 
Antonio Muntadas 
John Orenthcher 
Tony Oursler 
Stevenson Palfi 
Carol Porter 
Aysha Quinn 
Edward Rankus 
Marshall Reese 
Dan Reeves 
Bob Roesler 
Miroslaw Rogala 



Susan Rogers 
Nigel Rolfe 
Bob Rosen 
Sally Rosenthal 
Martha Rosier 
Jesse Rosser 
Dan Sandin 
None Sato 
Terrel Seltzer 
Michael Smith 
Bob Snyder 
John Sturgeon 
Barbara Sykes 
Mitchell Syrop 
Christine Tamblyn 
Janice Tanaka 
Sterna Vasulka 
Woody Vasulka 
Bruce Yonemoto 
Norman Yonemoto 



for more information about the series or other tape programs contact VIDEO DATA BANK 
DISTRIBUTION at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Columbus Dr. at Jackson Blvd., 
Chicago 60603, Phone 312/443-3793 



in 35mm." Short Film Competition deadline: Feb. 15; 
entry fee: $25. Extended deadline for Discovery 
Showcase: Feb. 1 . Contact: Pam Proctor or Bob Hull, 
USA Film Festival, P.O. Box 58789, Dallas TX 75258; 
(214) 760-8575. 



FOREIGN 



• BR USSELS INTERNA TIONAL FESTIVAL DU 
FILM FANTASTIQUE ET DE SCIENCE FIC- 
TION, March 15-30. 4 prizes are awarded: Le Cor- 
beau; the Special Prize for Fantastic Film; Special 
Prize for Science Fiction Film; Best Short Future 
Film. Deadline: January 30. Include summary, 
technical notes & photos. Contact: Peymey Diffu- 
sion, 114 Ave. de la Reine, 1000 Brussels, Belgium; 
tel: 22 42 17 13; telex: 61344 ext. 113. 

• CARTAGENA INTERNATIONAL FILM FES- 
TIVAL, June. High profile for U.S. independent 
producers, although the market activity for South 
America is at the Rio Film Festival, which debuted 
this year. Cartegena screened 72 films from 24 coun- 
tries in 1984 including U.S. independents Alone in 
the Dark, Liquid Sky, Atomic Cafe, Koyaanisqatsi, 
Rockers, Smithereens, Vortex, King Blank, Under- 
ground U.S.A., Eraserhead, & Bitter Cane. There 
are good & bad 16mm screening facilities, but some, 
according to Scott B, are among the best he's ever 
seen. Guests have been known to get stranded 
without the travel & expenses reimbursement promis- 
ed, so "make sure all commitments are contracted, 
says U.S. contact Christiane Roget. According to 
Roget, if the film is subtitled in Spanish, it will pro- 
bably get accepted. Programmer Victor Nieto will be 
traveling to the U.S. for product. Deadline: 



Jan. /Feb. Contact: Christiane Roget, P.O. Box E, 
Coconut Grove, FL 33133; tel: (305) 937-7411; or 
Victor Nieto, AA 1834 Cartagena, Colombia; tel: 42 
345. 

• HIROSHIMA INTERNATIONAL AMATEUR 
FILM AND VIDEO FESTIVAL, July. Founded in 
1975 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the 
atomic bombing, the festival welcomes work under 
30 minutes in Super-8, 16mm, V* ", VHS & Beta 
(NTSC) that exemplifies "efforts toward peace & 
reverence to life." All genres accepted. In 1983 the 
festival received 208 entries from 24 countries. 1 
grand prize, which includes a travel coupon of 
500,000 yen, & runners-up will be announced in 
April. Winning films will travel & be shown on 
Japanese TV, & may be used by UNESCO. Include 
postage for film with application (available at 
AIVF— send SASE). Deadline: Jan. 31. Films due: 
Feb. 28. Contact: Chugoku Broadcasting C, 
Cultural Dept. Business Div., 21-3 Motomachi, 
Naka-ku, Hiroshima City, Japan 730; tel: 082 233 
1111. 

• INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION OF 
AUTHOR FILMS, March 28-April 2. Feature 
length "auteur" films are the subject of this festival. 
Screenplay must be written at least in part by the 
director. Documentaries & narratives not released in 
Europe eligible. Grand Prize: 5 million lire. Deadline 
for forms (available at AIVF— send SASE): Jan. 30. 
12-line synopsis, dialogue list, cast list, 13"xl8" 
b&w still, & directors "biofilmography" should be 
included with entry form. Deadline for film: March 
10. Producer pays shipping. Contact: Nino Zucchelli 
or Nestorio Sacchi, Mostra Internazionale Del Film 
D'Autore, Rotonda dei Mille, 1 Bergamo, Italy; tel: 
243.566 or 234.162. 

• MOOMBA INTERNATIONAL AMATEUR 



SUPERS AND 8MM FILM FESTIVAL, March 
1-14. 39th annual festival for non-commercial 
"Films on 8." Includes student category; prefers 
films under 30 minutes. Competition awards prizes 
worth up to $1 ,000. Entry fee: $2 per film. Deadline: 
Feb. 15 (forms available at AIVF — send SASE). 
Contact: The Competition Secretary, Australia's Ten 
Best on Eight, 12-14 Tannock Street, North Balwyn, 
Vic. 3104, Australia. 

• MURCIA INTERNATIONAL CONTEST OF 
SHORT FILMS, April 17-26. Last year's 31st 
Spanish short film endeavor featured 19 U.S. films. 
Prizes for Super-8 & 16mm narratives, documen- 
taries & animated films are 75,000, 40,000 and 20,000 
pesetas, with certificates for all participants. Entry 
forms available from AIVF (send SASE). Festival 
pays return shipping. Deadline: March 1. Contact: 
Catedra de Cinmatografia de la Caja de Ahorros de 
Alicante y Murcia, Centro Cultural, Salzillo 7, Mur- 
cia, Spain; tel: 968 21 77 51 (mornings only). Festival 
pays return shipping. 

• STRASBOURG INTERNATIONAL FILM FES- 
TIVAL OF HUMAN RIGHTS, March 12-19. This 
French festival, in its 13th year, features films which 
deal with "human dignity & the violation of fun- 
damental rights." Films entered must be less than 2 
years old & unreleased in France. 16 & 35mm ac- 
cepted; subtitles requested. All lengths & genres, 
should be accompanied by entry forms, synopsis, 
filmography of the director, "an expose by the direc- 
tor stating his reasons for producing the film & the 
goals of the film," & press materials. Festival is seek- 
ing more U.S. product. They pay return shipping. 
Cassettes, any format, accepted for preselection. 
Deadline: Feb. 1. Contact: The International In- 
stitute of Human Rights, 1 quai Lezay-Marnesia, 
67000 Strasbourg, France; tel: 88 35 05 50. 



JANUARY/ FEBRUARY 1985 



THE INDEPENDENT 57 



IN AND OUT OF PRODUCTION 

Mary Guzzy 



LV 





"Diggers," Roman Foster's 90-minute documentary about the 100,000 black men who 
built the Panama Canal, will be broadcast nationally on PBS in February. Above, an 
archival photo of a West Indian laborer's house. Most of the workers came from 
Barbados and Jamaica, and were paid ten cents per hour. Thirty thousand men died 
building the canal; some of the survivors, all over the age of 90, appear in the film. 



Doris Chase, a pioneer in the development 
of the field of video dance, has departed 
from that genre to produce a half-hour 
pilot for a series of dramatic video 
monologues featuring mature actresses. 
Pictured above is Geraldine Page perform- 
ing "Table for One," a portrait of a recently 
divorced woman eating alone in a 
restaurant, with an original score by 
Michael Caufield. 



Life is the pits for Vietnam vet Frankie 
Dunlan (Rick Giovinazzo) in Buddy 
Giovinazzo's feature film, "American Night- 
mares," recently screened at the 1984 
Independent Feature Market in New York. 
Staten Island is the appropriately ghastly 
setting for this horror story of a war survivor. 
First-time cinematographer Stella Varveris 
filmed the landscape with an eye for its 
surreal qualities. 





All photos ocx/iesy filmmoke<s 



58 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/ FEBRUARY 1985 









Cameraperson Ed Bowes zooms in for 
a close-up of actor Jack Sheedy during 
production of Matthew Geller's video 
feature, "Everglades City," while cast 
members Aaron Mitchell (far right), Anna 
Castleman and David S. BJornson look on. 
Loosely based on the fairy tale "Beauty 
and the Beast," the tape was shot in south- 
western Florida . 



Actor Phillip Baker Hall portrays Richard M. 
Nixon in Robert Altman's independent 
feature, "Secret Honor," which will open in 
New York this winter. Filmed entirely at the 
University of Michigan with a student crew, 
"Secret Honor" is distributed by Altman's 
Sandcastle 5 Productions. 




Poet and performance artist Vincent Pollard 
of Chicago performs his "Distant Thunder/ 
Unseen Lightning." The piece explores the 
toll unemployment and foreign wars have 
taken on American working class com- 
munities. Above: one of Pollard's trans- 
parencies used In the performance. 



Two steelworkers on the job, from "Labor Day" by Allen Tobias. 



Dancers perform "And One And One And 
One," produced by video artist Helen 
DeMichiel and choreographer Laurie Van 
Wieren. The 25-minute adaptation of three 
plays by Gertrude Stein combines dance, 
movement, music and sound in a "post- 
modern feminist interpretation." 




JANUARY / FEBRUARY 1985 



THE INDEPENDENT 59 



1 NOTICES 



Notices are listed tree of charge. 
AIVF members receive first priority; 
others included as space permits. 
Send Notices to: Mary Guzzy, THE 
INDEPENDENT, c/o FIVR 625 Broad- 
way, 9th ft, New York NY 10012. For 
further information, call: (212) 
473-3400. Deadline: 8th of second 
preceding month (e.g., January 8 for 
the March issue). 



Buy • Rent • Sell 

• FOR SALE: CP-16 w/ complete accessories incl. 
3 batteries, 4 magazines, Angenieux 5.9mm & 
10-150mm w/J-5 Zoom, O'Connor 50, $11,000. 
Bolex H16 Rex 5, $800. Bolex H16 Rex 4, $600. 
5.7mm Century lens, $350. Moviescope, $150. Syn- 
chronizer, $175. Amplifier, $60. Contact: (518) 
766-4065. 

• PENNY WARD/ VIDEO RENTALS: Sony DXC 
1800 cameras, VO 4800 deck, Sennheiser mic, monitor 
w/operator, $175/day, VHS or Beta portapak, 
$150/day. Dubs: VHS or Beta to V*, $12/hr. 
Viewing:$4/hr. Editing: V* rough w/ editor, $20/hr. 
Contact: (212) 228-1427, NY. 



• FOR SALE: JVC/KY 2000 3 tube camera; 
CR4400U V*" U-matic deck (new heads); JVC 5" 
portable monitor; batteries; ac power supplies; cables, 
cases & tripods. Package $3,000. Contact: Erik Lewis 
Productions, (718) 851-8672, NY. 

• FOR SALE: Vi share in Eclair NPR co-owned; one 
partner selling. $2,500 gives you full use, while sharing 
rental profits & expenses. Call Josh, (212) 642-1112, 
NY. 

• FOR SALE: Beaulieu R16 automatic w/ Angenieux 
12- 120mm zoom f2.2 Excellent & mint condition, 
kept in case. Complete w/battery pack, charger & case 
included, $1,900. Call (914) 928-9449, NY. 

• LOOKING FOR: 30-minute TV scripts w/leading 
roles for older women (actors). Send descriptions only. 
Catalyst Products, 222 E. 23rd, NYC 10011. 

• SEEKING INDEPENDENT PRODUCTIONS: 
30-minute, dramatic, high quality, for television 
packaging, Contact: Linsey Enterprises, 61 W. 68th, 
#12, NYC 10023. 

• FOR SALE: 8-ft. color corrected fluorescent lites, 
$15 each (no tax). Call: Ken Liotti (212) 254-8452, NY. 

• FOR SALE: J&K optical printer with own 
sequencer, S-8 & 16 modules. Used only 5 times, mint 
condition. $2700. Bolex Rex 5. $700. Pan Cinor 
Berthiot Vario Switar, 17-85 zoom w/own viewfinder; 
can make non-reflex have reflex viewing, $400. Bolex 
16mm, matte box, $190. Call: (212) 677-2181 pm; 
leave message (212) 924-2254, NY. 



TWELFTH ANNUAL 


A 


ATHENS POST-PRODUCTION 


ATHENS INTERNATIONAL 
FILM FESTIVAL 




FOR INDEPENDENTS 


April 26-May 4,1985 




RATES AS LOW AS S30 A DAY 


"Exploring National Cinemas" 


■ 


3/4" VIDEO EDITING 


FILM COMPETITION 




COMPUTER GRAPHICS 


35mm, 16mm & Super-8 




TIME BASE CORRECTOR 


FEATURES 

SHORT STORY 

EXPERIMENTAL 

ANIMATION 
DOCUMENTARY 


▲ 


CHARACTER GENERATOR 

COLOR SYNC GENERATOR 

TIME CODE GENERATOR 

AND READER 

FULL AUDIO MIXING 


EDUCATION 
100 FOOT FILM 


■ 


16MM FILM EDITING 


SUPER-8 




MOVIOLA 6-PLATE 


YOUNG MEDIA ARTIST 




BENCH EDITING 


ENTRY DEADLINE 






FEBRUARY 18. 1985 


▲ 




For more information: call (614) 594-6007 < 


x write P.O.Box 388, Athens, OH 45701 


Projects of The Athens Center for Film and Video are supported by grants from 
the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ohio Arts Council and the Ohio 


University College of Fine Arts and in 

■ 


cooperation with the Department of Film. 



• FOR RENT IN NICARAGUA: Sony M-3 camera, 
4800 deck, monitor, tripod, mikes, lighting. 
Reasonable rates for equip & cameraperson; crew as 
needed. Contact: Gabrielle Baur, Christina Konrad, 
c/o Veronica Pfranger, Instituto Historico Centro 
Americo, Managua, Nicaragua; tel. 72572. 

• FOR RENT: Nagra III, crystal sync, adapted for 
IVi" reels, case, AC adaptor. Excellent condition. 
Reservation & deposit required. Contact: Theresa 
Weedy, (212) 447-3280, NY. 

• FOR RENT: Broadcast ENG gear w/Ikegami 
HL83, Sony BVU 110 w/time code, lights, mikes, 
Sachtler tripod. International crew for local rates. 
Contact: Lisa, Metro Video, (212) 
267-8221, /608-6005, NY. 

• WE ARE LOOKING FOR: good used film & video 
equipment, cameras, lenses, lighting, sound grip for 
consignment sale. No risk evaluation. Turn your 
surplus into cash. -Crosscountry Film/Video 
Exchange, (818) 841-9655, CA. 

• FOR SALE: Teac Porta-Studio 4-track cassette 
recorder & mixer. TAscam series model 144, Brand 
new, mint condition, $850. Contact: Michael, Millen- 
nium Film Workshop, (212) 673-0090, NY. 

• FOR SALE: Mailing lists of Art Directors & 
Creative Directors in NYC. Over 3000 names on self- 
sticking labels. $45 per thousand. Other lists available. 
Call (718) 843-6839, NY. 

• FOR SALE: 3 A " videocassettes used, guaranteed. 



Serving the Independent since 1966 




I LABORATORIES inc 



ilLmlvi Negative Processing 
Release Printing* 



Film Services 

VIDEO Duplication 

1" V*" Vi" formats 
Stereo Recording 

IMAGE CONVERSION 

division, J&D Laboratories 

Single and Multi-Screen 
A-V Shows to Film & Video 
Film to Video transfers 
Video to Film transfers 
Slides from Video 

*~\JI\J r/LC Image Management 

Color micro-prints 
from Slide, Film & Video 

12 W 21 St. NYC 10010 

212 691-5613 



60 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1985 



60 min. $7.75 each, 30 min. $4.75 each, 20 min. $3.95 
each, 10 min. $2.95 each., Call (718) 843-6839, NY. 

• FOR SALE: 16mm editing equipment. Zeiss 
Moviscope Viewer, $150. 2-roll paper tape dispenser, 
$10. Catozzo guillotine tape splicer, 16mm Maier- 
Hancock hot splicer, $175. Moviola squawk box with 
magnetic film reader, $85. Magnasynch 16mm 5-gang 
synchronizer, $150. 1 set Hollywood rewinds w/ex- 
tenders, $50. 1000' split reels, $15 each. Sanyo 15" 
b&w computer video monitor, $225. All equipment in 
good condition These prices or best offer. Contact: 
Michael Wiese, PO Box 406, Westport, CT 06881; 
(203) 226-6979. 

• FOR SALE: Beaulieu 4008Zm2, 50008S, 6008S 
cameras, Miller tripod, S-8 sound fullcoat sync 
recorder, mic, equalizers, splicer, 3-gang S-8 
synchronizer, sliding mag head, minette viewer 
rewinds, beeplight, photostart, screen, cables. Many 
free extras, excellent condition & prices. Call: William, 
(609) 426-2738, 9am-4pm, NJ. 

• FOR SALE: IBM Selectric typewriter. Call: (212) 
666-6787, NY & leave message. 

• FOR RENT: JVC/KY 2700 camera package, 
w/crew & car. $350/day. V* " postproduction. Com- 
plete production packages from idea to finished 
product. Contact: Erik Lewis Productions, (718) 
851-8672, NY. 

• FOR RENT: 6-plate Steenbeck for rent in our 
editing room or can travel to yours. 4-plate Steenbeck 
for rent or sale. Both machines well-maintained. Call: 
Chris or Randall, (617)547-7931, MA. 



Conferences • 
Workshops 

• LEARN TO ANIMATE ON A MICRO- 
COMPUTER: Using moviemaker software, on Atari 
800s, create 30-45 sec. 4-color animation w/sound. 
Moviemaker I covers basics, Moviemaker II goes into 
production applications for finished pieces. Each 
course, 6 hrs. instruction, 12 hrs. lab. $175. Call Janet 
Been, (212) 966-1487, NY, or Computer Arts Form, 
(212) 586-1261, NY. 

• VIDEO EXPO: Held in San Francisco's Civic 
Auditorium, Feb. 11-15. Exhibiting video equipment 
& technology, seminar program of intensive full-day & 
half-day sessions. Contact: Shelia Alpher, Knowledge 
Industry Publications, 701 Westchester Ave., White 
Plains, NY 10604; call (800) 248-KIPI (toll-free) or 
(914) 328-9157, NY. 

• ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN RESEARCH AS- 
SOCIATION: Seeks film, video & slide entries for 
presentations at international conference in NYC, 
June 10-12. Film, video or slides about built & natural 
settings considered. Research films, reportage, cinema 
verite, interviews, documentaries, fiction, animation, 
simulation & other forms acceptable. Deadline: Feb. 
15, 1985; acceptance by April 15; awards: June 12. 
Contact: Madeline Gross, EDRA 16/1985, Con- 
ference Administrator, Graduate Center/CUNY, 33 
W. 42 St., NYC 10036-8099. 

• NEW FILMMAKERS SHOWCASE: Experimen- 
tal films shown in monthly screenings. Contact: Col-' 
lective for Living Cinema, 52 White St., NYC 10013, 
(212)925-2111. 

• WINTER WORKSHOPS AT THE COLLEC- 
TIVE: Beginning Filmmaking Feb. 4-March 20, $160. 
16mm Basics Feb. 9, 10, 16 & 17, $90. Sound Record- 
ing Feb. 23 & 24, $90. Lighting March 2, 3 & 9, $90. 
Optical Printing, March 10 & 12, $90. Editing Tech- 
niques March 16 & 17, $90. Take 3 or more weekend 



workshops, receive 5% reduction. Members get an ad- 
ditional 10% off. Limited enrollment — register early. 
Call: (212) 925-3926, NY. 



Editing Facilities 

• EDITING ROOM FOR RENT: 8-plate Steenbeck. 
2 rooms fully equipped w/everything including sound 
transfer. 24-hr. access, convenient downtown location. 
$900/mo., $250/wk., $60/day; negotiable. Call:' 
Anomaly Films, (212) 925-1500, NY. 

• FOR RENT: 6-plate Steenbeck editing room. Fully 
equipped incl. telephone. Special rates for in- 
dependents. Contact: Bob Mack Prods., (212) 
736-3074, NY. 

• OFF LINE ON COST EDITING: New hi-speed 
equipment. Fully computerized edit decision, list 
management w/printout. Rough cuts, clip reels, win- 
dow dubs, time coding available. Quiet cool editing 
room; everything $20/hr. contact: Bob Wiegand, (212) 
925-6059, NY. 

• EDITING POST: offers } A " editing at $50/hr. w/ 
editor. System includes JVC CR-8250 recorder w/ ver- 
tical interval head switching & balanced audio inputs 
(broadcast standards), Chyron VP-1 graphics, time 
base correction & full time code capability, including 
window dubs. Discounts for longer projects. Conve- 
nient midtown location; 24-hr., 7-day access. Book 
time M-F, 10am-6pm. Contact: Gerry Pallor, (212) 
757-4220, NY. 

• UPPER WEST SIDE STEENBECK RENTAL: 
8-plate or 6-plate. Reasonable rates. Call: (212) 
874-7444, NY. 

• STEENBECKS FOR RENT: Moderately priced by 
the month. Delivered to your workspace. Prompt 
repairs included. Call: Paul, (212) 316-2913, NY. 

• MOVIOLA M-77s FOR RENT: $500/mo. in your 
workspace. 15% discount to AIVF members. Contact: 
Philmaster Productions, (212) 873^470, NY. 

• SONYBVU 3 A "EDITING: Flexible rates w/editor. 
$25/hr. w/ editor. Call: (212) 242-2320, NY. 

• VIDEO EDITING & TIME CODING: V* " hi- 
speed video editing on new JVC 8250 w/convergence 
control. $20/$30/hr. Low rates for time coding & time 
code editing. Contact: Inpoint Productions, (212) 
679-3172, NY. 

• TEATOWN VIDEO INC.: Offers new Yi " profes- 
sional Betacam format, Teatown's CMX-340X on line 
editing suite, edits directly from Betacam camera 
originals to 1 " broadcast masters. Call: Teatown 
Video, (212) 302-0722, NY. 

• WOMENS INTERART CENTER: Has editing 
facilities for video & filmmakers. Video facilities in- 
clude V* " Z600C computerized video editing system 
w/Sony 5850 editing decks. Microloc frame accuracy 
for precise editing control. Film f acuities include 
6-plate 16mm Steenbeck w/splicers & editing table, 
bins, rewinds* reels. Call: (212) 246-1050, 10am-6pm 
for rates & hrs. 

• MIDTOWN MOVIOLA: Editing room w/break- 
down table, shelves, bin, etc. $50/day, $200/wk, 
$700/mo. Call: (212) 947-5333, NY. 

• EDITING ROOM: KEM 8-plate Universal editing 
table, 16mm/35mm, rewinds, bin, splicer. 24 hr. ac- 
cess. Very reasonable. Contact: Women Make 
Movies, 19 W. 21st., NYC 10010, (212) 929-6477. 

• NEW HORIZON STUDIOS: Offers creative off 
line editing in comfortable surroundings. Midtown 
location. System includes: tapehandlers w/new 






VIDEO VIEWPOINTS 




VIDEOMAKERS TALK ABOUT AND 




SHOW THEIR WORK 


+* 


7TH SEASO.N/1984-1985 


JANUARY 7 6:30 


< 


MARINA ABRAMOVIC 


Nightsea Crossing 


JANUARY 21 6:30 


c 


MARKSCHUBIN 


J — 


The Difference Between Movies and Television 




o 


FEBRUARY 4 6:30 


ARDELE LISTER 


Tailored Truths 


MARCH 4 6:30 


2 


KEN f EINGOLD 


lb Intensify Use of Time 


*o 


MARCH 18 6:30 


BOB SNYDER 


Video Colonzation Based on Musical Modules 


E 


APRIL 15 6:30 


DOUG HALL 


3 
0) 


Image As Spectacle Video Works 


APRIL 29 6:30 


LISA STEELE 


Talking Tongues 


3 


MAY 6 6:30 


2 


PAUL RYAN 


Fcochannel for the Hudson Estuary 




JUNE 3 6:30 


4> 


DEEDEE HALLECK 


J? 


In the Belly of the Beast Encountering the 


h- 


Culture Industry on Public Access Cable 


JUNE 24 6:30 




ED BOWES 




Story. Plot, and Central Crises in 




Television Narrative 




VIDEO VIEWPOINTS is supported in pjfl wtth public 




funds Ifom Ihe New York Slate Council On the Aris ami 




ihe National Endowneni rot the Ais 




The Roy and Niuta Titus Theater 2 




11 West 53 Street New York N Y 10019 




A presentation of the Department of Film 



JANUARY / FEBRUARY 1985 



THE INDEPENDENT 61 



Congratulations & Best Wishes 



v£*> 



Robert Altman and 
Sandcastle 5 Productions 



w^v 



J) 



HAPPY TENTH ANNIVERSARY (Independent 

Yours AWhv^o^ii/ 

at PHOTO-FILM-VIDEO U.S.A. where Producers and 
Video Artists are always welcome 

for cooperative services in video taping, duplication, transfers 
screenings and distributions in the 3/U inch U-matic and 1/2 
VHS or BETA formats. 



inc 



Call (718) 7^5- DU09 



m 



PHOTO-FILM-VIDEO U.S.A. 

6923 Fifth Avenue 

liROOKLN . NEW YORK 1 1209 

(212) 74V0009 



CONGRATULATIONS! 



FILfTl FORUfTl 



At 



AWARD 

WINNING 

SHORTS 

NOW 

PLAYING 

ON 

GLOBAL 

TV 

By Sol Rubin 

P.O.B. 40 New York 10038 

(718)854-5486 



RM86U, TBX, 3M Proc, waveform, Ikegami title 
camera, CGF, 16-ch. audio mixing, JVC KM 2000 
SEG, Chroma key, time code capability. $90/hr. Call: 
(212)490-9082, NY. 

• >A " EDITING/ POST PRODUCTION: Left & in- 
dependent documentaries our first love. Sony 5850s. 
Microgen char, generator, full sound mix, time code, 
etc. $40/hr. w/editor. 10<% discount to AIVF 
members. Call Debbie or David, 29th Street Video, 
(212)594-7530, NY. 

• MACHINE LANGUAGE HAS MOVED TO 
MIDTOWN: Non-commercial rates for Va " editing 
@$25/hr. w/editor & ¥i " to V* " facility. Staff editors 
offer expertise in new narratives, documentaries, 
music video & performance. Industrial & broadcast 
quality production packages available for location 
shoots. We'll work w/you from start to finish. Con- 
tact: Machine Language, 321 W. 44 St., NYC 10036, 
(212)431-7731. 



Films • Tapes Wanted 

• TELEPRESS TODA Y: Newspaper channel pro- 
duced by Binghamton Press Co. seeks 3 A "shows on 
barter basis. Interested in series or longer running 
shows to air on our LO channel. All programs pro- 
moted in our newspapers along w/daily TV logs. Call: 
Dan Marchese, (607) 798-1200. 

• EDUCATIONAL FILM DISTRIBUTOR: Seeks 
film/video titles for national distribution on family 
relations/parenting: human sexuality, mental health, 
guidance, career education & substance abuse. Con- 
tact: ODN Productions, c/o Sharon Waskow, 74 
Varick St., NYC 10013, (212) 431-8923. 



Freelancers 



• APPRENTICE/ASSISTANT EDITOR: Freelanc- 
ing in Boston. Emerson College grad, 1984. Very 
organized, willing to work long hours for low pay in 
exchange for experience. Will relocate. Contact: D. 
Caruso, 19 Prescott St., Newton MA 02160, (617) 
969-6804. 

• EDITING /PRODUCTION /RESEARCH ASST: 
Available to work on films & videos. Varied profes- 
sional experience in all aspects of film/video produc- 
tion. Interest in independent film/video career. An- 
thropological field work. Rates negotiable. Contact: 
Debbie Bergman, (212) 228-3515, NY. 

• ART DIRECTION, SET DRESSING, PROPS: I 
would like to help design your production. Reasonable 
rates. Resume & portfolio available. Contact: Eva, 
(212) 724-3879, NY. 

• CINEMATOGRAPHER AVAILABLE: For low- 
budget features. Contact: Felix Parnell, (212) 
759-9216, NY. 

• FILM COMPOSER A VAILABLE: Experience w/ 
strong classical background; teaching film composing 
at Manhattan School of Music & School of Visual 
Arts. Contact: Ed Green, (212) 533^303, NY. 

• CINEMA TOGRAPHER: Specializing in Hispanic 
subjects, US or Latin America, available for documen- 
tary. Fluent in Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, 
Russian; English OK, too. CP GSMO, lights, sound, 
editing facilities. Based in Santa Fe. Contact: Pacho 
Lane, PO Box 266, Cerrillos NM 87010, (505) 
982-6800. 

• CINEMA TOGRAPHER: W/ 15 yrs. experience in 
35mm & 16mm interested in independent fiction films. 
Fluent in French. Contact: Babette Mangolte, (212) 
925-6329, NY. 



62 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1985 



rdable rates 

itic film and video festivals 
promote the interests of independent producers 
nation 



the only national film and video magazine tailored 



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• JACK WALWORTH SERVICES: Professional, 
personal productions. Video, sound & film. Ikegami 
HL-83, Sony BVU-1 10, off-line video editing (w/time- 
code), on-line consultation. 5 yrs. editing ex- 
perience — come see our reel. Call: office, (212) 
684-2951, studio (212) 685-2863, NY. 

• GRADUATING FILM/TV STUDENT: Ex- 
perience in videotape & film editing; 16mm ENG & 
studio camera operation, audio recording, available 
for employment. Contact: Steve Harris, 102 Pase de 
Hag, Flagstaff AZ 86001; call (602) 774-9235. 

• SOUND RECORDIST: Availlable for low budget 
features: extensive feature, commercial & documen- 
tary experience. Own full state-of-the-art equipment 
package, incl. 4 wireless mics & 4 high power walkie 
talkies. Time code available for double system video 
shoots. Call: (212) 255-8698, NY. 

• DIRECTOR'S/ PRODUCER'S ASST: Very ex- 
perienced still photographer. Limited film/video ex- 
perience, fast learner & easy to work with. Great 
writing capabilities, dedicated & free to travel. Call: 
Jake Uzo, (718) 712-9648, NY. 

• SYNCHROSOUND PROD: Offering original 
music & scoring for films & audio/video production. 
Heard on cable & national television. We can fit your 
budget. Contact: Jerry, (212) 505-8500 or John (516) 
944-8747, NY. 

• MID WESTERN CINEMA TOGRAPHER: 

W/Arri SR. Looking for New Age visions to express. 
Low budget feature experience, documentary, com- 
mercial & industrial background. Multiple skills. Con- 
tact: Thorn Bell, (616) 691-7072, MI. 

• LOOKING FOR INTERNSHIP: To compliment 
13 yrs. of varied production experience. Will relocate. 
Contact: Georges A. Lessard, 3479 Stanley St. #12 
Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3A 1S2; (514) 845-8577. 

• POSTPRODUCTION CONSULTING: On all 

aspects of 16mm or 35mm film. Experienced in solving 
problems dealing w/opticals, lab procedures, editing, 
archival footage, soundtracks, etc. Also available to 
cut A&B rolls & provide assistance in dealing w/lab. 
Credits include postproduction supervisor of PBS 
series & editorial & technical consultant to film ar- 
chives. Call Steve, (212) 6244142, NY. 

• VIDEOGRAPHER AVAILABLE: W/state-of- 
the-art equip. Creative, professional, reasonable, any 
location, any occasion. Contact: AB Video Produc- 
tions, (212) 206-8296, NY. 

• VIDEOGRAPHER EX-DANCER: Specializing in 
documentation of & collaboration on dance projects. 
Vt " or Vi " production, color camera. Performance: 
S150; rehearsal: $100 (excluding tape). Contact: Penny 
Ward Video, (212) 228-1427, NY. 

• SCRIPT SUPERVISOR/CONTINUITY: Avail- 
able for independent features. Good references. Con- 
tact: Kerry Kirkpatrick, (212) 879-5241, NY. 

• NEGATIVE MATCHING: 16mm A&B rolling. 

Reasonable prices for independent low-budget films, 
references available. Call: Jay Ahgharian, (212) 
897-4145, NY. 

• NEGATIVE MATCHING: A&B rolls cut, scenes 
pulled for opticals; negative & reversal stocks. Reliable 
service, reasonable rates. Call: One White Glove, (212) 
897-4145, NY. 

• FILM TITLE SERVICE: Typeset & prepare art- 
work, $100. Shoot, develop & workprint, $200. Con- 
tact: Charlie, (212) 598-9111/982-3014, NY. 

• FILM/VIDEO EDITOR: 18 yrs. documentary, 
ethnographic, industrial. Credits include ABC, NBC, 
WNET, Exxon, Sperry, Time-Life, Xerox. Awards: 
American Film Festival (Red & Blue Ribbons), Col- 



umbia, Dupont (2) & others. Contact: Molly Smoll- 
ette, (201) 963-7766/7776, NJ. 

• CINEMATOGRAPHER: W/16 & Super 16mm 
Aaton package, available for low-budget high quality 
16 & 35mm features. Contact: Igor, (212) 794-2011, 

NY. 

• NEGATIVE MATCHING: A&B rolls cut at 
reasonable rates. Contact: Bruce, (212) 228-7352, NY. - 



Opportunities • Gigs 

• RESPONSIBLE VIDEO/CAMERMAN: For 
overseas filming (travelogue style). Some experience 
working overseas helpful. Call: On/Track Video, (212) 
864-5166, NY. 

• WANTED: Experienced independent producer to 
line produce a feature. Contact: James Adler, Franco 
Productions, PO Box 252, Prince Station, NYC 
10012. 

• FILM/VIDEO CHAIRPERSON: School of 
Photographic Arts & Sciences of Rochester Institute of 
Technology has reopened its search for chairperson for 
Film/Video Department. Candidate should have 
record of academic, professional & administrative ex- 
perience in video/filmmaking, & master's degree. 
Responsibilities include teaching & administration in 
small, growing undergraduate film & video program. 
Salary' & rank commensurate w/qualifications. Equal 
opportunity employer. Deadline: Jan. 8, 1985. Con- 
tact: Professor Thomas Iten, Acting Director, School 
of Photographic Arts & Sciences, Rochester Institute 
of Technology, One Lomb Memorial Drive, 
Rochester, NY 14623. 

• CINEMATOGRAPHER WANTED: Small, non- 
profit social issues film company w/ flatbed & Nagra 
seeks competent cinematographer w7 equipment in- 
terested in 1-yr. partnership in Alaska, beginning April 
1985. Must be willing to generate projects as well as 
become involved in company's other functions. Con- 
tact: Affinity Films, PO Box 102974, Anchorage, AK 
99510. 

• WANTED: Video personnel: Camera operator/ 
editor of ability to maintain equip. & trouble-shoot 
when necessary. Sound person/deck operat- 
or/technical assistant w/artistic skills. References & 
resumes required. Reel required for camera position. 
Paid positions for capable, talented, responsible & ex- 
perienced individuals. Contact: Gary Beck, Sidewalks 
of NY Prods, PO Box 968, Old Chelsea Sta., NYC 
10113. 

• FACULTY POSITION 1985-86: Primary respon- 
sibilities in film/video w/additional experience in 
visual anthropology, mass communications & society, 
or new technologies preferred. Responsibilities in- 
clude: teaching basic & intermedia video/film produc- 
tion technologies: aesthetic, ideological & historical 
perspectives on visual communications in an inter- 
disciplinary teaching context. Evidence of ongoing 
personal work required. Send example of film or 
videotape w/ application. Deadline: Jan. 6, 1985. To 
apply send resume, 2 letters of recommendation from 
college & 2 letters from students & any standardized 
teaching evaluation forms available plus a statement of 
educational philosophy & a syllabus exhibiting your 
approach to teaching. Contact: Barbara Leigh Smith, 
Academic Dean, Evergreen State College, Olympia, 
WA 98505. 

• FUNDRAISING COORDINA TOR: Work w/staf f 
in coordinating annual fundraising effort for non-. 
profit center in involved in film, video, theater, record- 
ing, radio, facility programming & photography. 
Qualifications: good verbal & writing skills; 
knowledge of multiple media disciplines; willingness to 



64 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/ FEBRUARY 1985 




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ocus 



Update: New Programs 



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us more space and a better view. Our new address: 

250 West 57th Street 

Suite 1229 

New York, NY 10019 



The Video Installation Loan Pool is a super low cost equipment 
rental service aimed at video artists creating installation pieces 
for arts and public spaces — 



TECHNICAL AND 
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CHANNEL D — GROUP W & MANNHATTAN CABLE 



Call (212) 757-4220 



This program is made possible, in part, with public funds from the 
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JANUARY / FEBRUARY 1985 



THE INDEPENDENT 65 




New York's Newest Videotape Editroom 
Va" to W & 3 A" to 1" w/ Digital 

(212) 684-3830 



A Post-Production Center for 
independent and corporate filmmakers 

VALKHN FILM & VIDEO 

Award-winning editing staff 
Supervising editor Victor Kanefsky 

Facilities for 16 mm & 35 mm film, 

and 3/4" off-line video editing. 

— Rentals also available — 

1600 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10019 

(212)586-1603 



VISUAL ARTS DEPARTMENT, 
University of California, San Diego 



VIDEO ARTIST. One position is anticipated tor video 
maker who has already made a distinctive and original 
contribution to the field. Must have broad knowledge 
and wide ranging working experience in both field and 
studio production. Substantial showing record and 
teaching experience at the college level required. Teach- 
ing requires capability of imparting artistic knowledge 
and technical skills to both beginners and advanced 
students and ability to lecture on the historical develop- 
ment of the medium in its aesthetic, technological and 
socio-cultural contexts. Possible tenure-track (Assistant 
Professor) or tenure (Associate or Full Professor) posi- 
tion available beginning the 1985/86 academic year. 
Salary commensurate with qualifications and experi- 
ence. UCSD is an Equal Opportunity/ Affirmative Action 
Employer. Write to: David Antin, Chairperson; Visual Arts 
(B-027): University of California San Diego; La Jolla. 
California 92093. Include letter of application, curricu- 
lum vitae, names of three references (do not send let- 
ters and/or placement files), and an appropriate sample 
of work with return postage. Please reference position 
number 2587 on all correspondence. Deadline for 
application: February 15, 1985. 



CONGRATULATIONS 

AIVF ON YOUR 10th 

ANNIVERSARY 



from 

Julie Gustafson 

and 

John Reilly 



VIDEO STUDY CENTER 

454 Broome St. 

NY, NY10013inSoHo 

(212)966-7526 



locate in rural environment & travel; interest in Ap- 
palachian region; previous experience in fundraising. 
Salary $12,000-17,000. Benefits, medical insurance & 
paid vacation. Contact: Appalshop, PO Box 743, 
Whitesburg, KY 41858; (606) 633-0108. 

• WE ARE LOOKING FOR: Directors, producers* 
production houses interested in producing music 
videos for independent record labels. Contact: Jeannie 
Hance, Independent Label Coalition, (212) 876-6338, 
NY. 

• DANCE/ COMEDY /ADVENTURE: Experienced 
film producer seeks screenplay. All properties profes- 
sionally executed & held in strict confidence. Contact: 
(212) 523-3005, NY. 

• WANTED TO FILM OR TAPE IN NICARAG- 
UA: Vecino Brigade, group of builders & organizers, 
will depart for Nicaragua late March 1985, to constuct 
a health clinic/ daycare center. Looking for bilingual 
professionals to document this project. Must finance 
own travel expenses & help raise money for the media 
project. Contact: Kendall Hale, 121 Fisher Ave., Rox- 
bury, MA 02120; (617) 731-1590. 

mNEED VIDEOTAPE CREW FOR HUMAN 
RIGHTS BENEFIT: Specify if own equipment. Con- 
tact: Roberto Monticello Prods, PO Box 372, Village 
Station, NYC 10014. 

• VIDEO PRODUCTION COMPANY: Looking 
for a few good people w/experience in all phases of 
video production & sales to form production com- 
pany. Must have art as well as real-world money mak- 
ing background. Send letter &/or resume to: Hash 
Prod. 211 W. 56th St. #35-L, NYC 10019. 



Resources • Funds 

• CORPORATION FOR PUBLIC BROAD- 
CASTING'S PROGRAM FUND: Open solicitation 
for proposals from independent producers for 
development & production of programs for News & 
Public Affairs, Culture & Children, & Drama & the 
Arts. Deadline: April 19, 1985. Guidelines available. 
Contact: CPB Program Fund, 1111 16th St. NW, 
Washington, DC 20036; (202) 293-6160. 

• NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS & 
J. PAUL GETTY CENTER FOR EDUCATION IN 
THE ARTS: Invite proposals for television series on 
arts for home broadcast for children between ages 8 & 
10. Those eligible for application include: non-profit 
organizations (incl. public televsion stations), media 
arts centers, arts & educational organizations, in- 
dependent producers teamed w/non-profit organiza- 
tions. Application deadline: March 1. Contact: Julia 
Moore, NEA Media Arts Program, (202) 682-5452, 
DC. 

• BRODSKY & TREAD WA Y: S-8 & 8mm film-to- 
video transfer masters. Scene by scene density & total 
color correction, variable speed, freeze frame, sound 
from any source. By appointment only. Call: (617) 
666-3372, MA. 

• APPALSHOP: Will administer Southeast Media 
Fellowship Program. Independent film & videomakers 
in AL, FL, GA, KY, LS, MS, NC, SC, TN & VA are 
eligible to apply for production grants of up to $5,000 
for new works or works-in-progress. Deadline: Feb. 1 , 
1985; grant awards announced by March 20. Contact: 
Southeast Media Fellowship Program, SEMFP c/o 
Appalshop, Box 743, Whitesburg, KY 41858; (606) 
633-0108. 

• M.A. PROGRAM: In film/ video, production, 
screenwriting, critical studies. No previous experience 
necessary. Graduate assistantships available for fall, 



66 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1985 



1985. Contact: Prof. John Douglass, School of Com- 
munication, American University, Washington, DC 
20016. 

• REGIONAL FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM 
A WARDS: Independent film & video artists residing 
in 6 New England States invited to apply. Program for 
production funds totaling $35,000 to complete works- 
in-progress. Artists may submit non-commercial work 
in any genre, super-8, 16mm & V* " & Vi " video ac- 
cepted. Works must be completed by Dec. 31, 1985. 
New Yorkers eligible. Contact: New England 
Film/Video Fellowship Program, Boston Film/Video 
Foundation, 1126 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02215, 
att: Anne Robinson; (617) 536-1540. 

• RETIREMENT RESEARCH FOUNDATION: 
Will award upto $25,000 in cash prizes, $5,000 each, to 
producers of films, videotapes & television programs 
on aging, as part of National Media Award Competi- 
tion. Training films, videotapes, independent films, 
fiction & non-fiction television programs produced in 
U.S. between Jan. 1, 1982&Dec.31, 1984, are eligible. 
Awards presented April 1985 at a ceremony hosted by 
Retirement Research Foundation, Chicago. Deadline: 
Feb. 1, 1985. Contact: RRF National Media Awards, 
PO Box 736, NYC; (212) 219-8739. 

• INFO CUSTOMER SYSTEM: Introduces new 
computer programmer, VID-BID, aids commercial 
producers in estimating, bidding, & cost control video 
productions. Program cost: $795. Contact: Michael 
Lewin, Info Customer Systems, PO Box 556, Middle 
Village, NY 11379; (718) 849-9672. 

• NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS 
GRANT DEADLINES: Deadline: January 15 for 
New Genres (formerly Conceptual/Perfor- 
mance/New Genres & Video). Contact: Visual Arts 
Program directly for video artists fellowships. 1100 



Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20506. 

• INDIEFEX: Offers high-quality sound effects & 
foleys at low rates for independents. 10% discount for 
AIVF members. Contact: Randal Alan Goya, 949 
Amsterdam Ave., #4N, NYC, 10025; (212) 678-7989. 



Trims • Glitches 

• AIVF MEMBER & INDEPENDENT 
WASHINGTON PRODUCER PHYLLIS WARD: 
Won Bronze Medal in New York International Film 
Festival for The Pig in the Python, documentary about 
postwar baby boom & how it is changing America. In 
Oct., another documentary produced by Ward, T Is 
for Teachers, was one of 12 programs receiving Na- 
tional Education Association's award for broadcasting 
excellence. 

• CPB PROGRAM FUND: announces funding of 
following projects: God & Money, by John de Graaf , 
Seattle, WA; Heart of a Dog, by Mirra Bank, Alexan- 
dria, VA. 

• ICAP HAS CLOSED DOWN: If you did not 

receive your film or tape, we may have it in storage. 
Please contact us in writing w/an accurate mailing ad- 
dress & the name of your program so that it can be 
returned to you. Contact: Charles Samu, 49 Victory 
Place, East Brunswick, NJ 08816. 

• CONGRATULATIONS TO: California Newsreel 
for receiving the 1984 Meritorious Achievement 
Award at Media Alliance awards ceremony held in 
Oct. at the Galleria in San Francisco. CN was recog- 
nized for its latest production, The Business of 
America. . . 



r 



"S 



11th Year of 

Independent 

Film Exhibition 

Ll/s 

New 

Community 

Cinema 



Partial list of filmmakers who 

appeared at the NCC: 

Les Blank • Jill Godmilow 

Emile deAntonio • Wim Wenders 

Haile Gerima • George Stoney 

George Griffin • Manny Kirchheimer 

Barbara Kopple • Kathleen Collins 

and many others 

To receive complimentary copy of 
FILM FOLIO, write or phone. 

New Community Cinema 

423 Park Avenue 

Box 498 

Huntington, New York 11743 



c 



a 



1 m A. n i A NEW YEAR As of January, 1985 




A NEW NAME FILM/VIDEO ARTS, INC. 

Formerly Young Filmakers Foundation 

Will open its new facility at 
A NEW HOME 817 Broadway (corner 12th Street) 

New York, NY 10003 

New and expanded • Film/Video/ Audio Equipment Rentals 

services include. 

• Production & Postproduction Facilities 

• Introductory thru Advanced Training 

FILM/ VIDEO ARTS A Nonprofit Media Arts Center 

A73-9361 10 am - 6 pm Weekdays Call for Free Brochure 

FVA congratulates AIVF on its tenth anniversary and 
extends best wishes for the future 



JANUARY/ FEBRUARY 1985 



THE INDEPENDENT 67 



I MEMORANDA 

SOMETHING FOR 
(ALMOST) NOTHING 

AI VF is pleased to be the recipient of an in-kind 
donation of 600 copies of the 1984 Producer's 
Masterguide from publisher Shmuel Bension. 
This 770-page manual contains extensive current 
information on areas of the film and television 
industry' such as unions, labs, postproduction 
facilities, video facilities, agents, production 
companies, accountants, personnel, service or- 
ganizations, and more. Twenty states are cov- 
ered, as well as the Virgin Islands, Canada, and 
the United Kingdom. The guide retails for about 
$80.00. 

AIVF will send you this valuable production 
resource for a S 10.00 shipping and handling fee 
(limit: one book per member). We will send the 
four-lb. book to you via UPS. 

Send your check to AIVF, Masterguide, 625 
Broadway, 9th floor, New York, NY 10012 by 
Feb. 1, 1985. Recipients of the Masterguide will 
then be selected by lottery so that all members 
have an equal chance. (Should we run out, 
checks will be returned promptly.) 



off-line 3/4 ' editing 



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t-V. 






$# 



,«t 






$20prhr 



• new JVC 8250 system 

• convergence controller 

• 15x shuttle speed 

$4 j • low cost time coding 
pr hr and window dubs 

679-3172 



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LAST CHANCE 

FOR A NEW YEAR AT THE OLD PRICE 

In January 1985, AIVF will be raising our membership dues for the first time In five 
years. Individual memberships will be $35, student memberships $20, and organi- 
zational memberships $75. If s been our policy to keep AIVF dues as low as possi- 
ble, but our rising costs, including a big rent Increase this year, force us to pass 
some of this Inflation on to you. 

However, we want to give our current members a chance to renew at the old rate. 
No matter when your membership expires, if you send $25 before February 15, 
1985 ($15 for students, $50 for organizations), we will extend it for one year from 
its expiration date. If you delay renewal until your expiration date, you'll have to 
pay the higher price. If you join AIVF as a new member before December 31, 1984, 
you can also take advantage of the lower rates. 

Please extend my membership for one more year at the old rate or enter my new 
membership in AIVF. 

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Return to: AIVF Membership, 625 Broadway, 9th floor, New York, NY 10012. 



INDEPENDENT BOOKSHELF 


Don't look any further for essential media 
tonnes. These titles are available at AIVF. 


The Independent Film & Video Makers 
Guide 

by Michael Wiese, $14.95 

How To Prepare Budgets for Film & 
Video 

by Michael Wiese. $14.95 

Motion Picture, TV & Theatre Directory 

Motion Picture Enterprises, $5.95 


Independent Feature Film Production 

by Gregory Goodell. $7.95 

Beyond Video: Media Alliance 
Directory 1 

Media Alliance. $2.50 

Film & Video Service Profiles 

Center for Arts Information 
$5.00 (film). $6.75 (video) 


Selected Issues in Media Law 

by Michael F. Mayer. $2.50 

Get The Money & Shoot 

by Bruce Jackson. $15.00 

Copyright Primer 

by Joseph B Sparkman. $3.50 


The AIVF Guide to Distributors 

by Wendy Lidell, Mary Guzzy 
$7.00 members. $8.95 non-members 

ShipShape Shipping 

by Wendy Lidell. Victoria Cammarota 
$3.00 


To order by mail, add $1.00 to the price of each Pook to cover postage and handl- 
ing. Make checks payable to AIVF and mail to: AIVF Books. 625 BroaOway. 9th floor. 
New York. NY 10012. 



68 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1985 



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.,#" 



The Black Filmmaker Foundation 
CONGRATULATES 

AIVF 

On Its 10th Anniversary 

The Black Filmmaker Foundation (BFF) was established to promote 
and protect black independent cinema. Now entering its seventh year 
of service as the nation's principal black media arts center and 
largest distributor of black independent film/video, BFF continues to 
play a pivotal role in the black independent film/video movement by 
providing support services to black producers and through audience 
development via its programming of film festivals locally, nationally, 
and internationally. 

BFF encourages black independents to become members of both the 
BFF and AIVF in order to strengthen their respective arts services 
and advocacy. 



President 
Warrington Hudlin 



Executive Director 
Jewel Curvin 



Distribution Manager 
Susan Christian 



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MOVING? 
LET US 
KNOW. . 



It takes four to six 
weeks to process an 
address change. So 
please notify us in 
advance. 



FIVF 

625 Broadway, 9th floor 

New York NY 10012 



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US POSTAGE 

PAID 
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MARCH 1985 



FILM & VIDEO MONTHLY $2°° 



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FILM & VIDEO MONTHLY 



IWEPENDENf 



MARCH 1985 






VOLUME 8, NUMBER 2 




Publisher: 


Lawrence Sapadin 




Editor: 


Martha Gever 


14 


Associate Editors: 


Susan Linfield 






Renee Tajima 


17 


Contributing Editors: 


Robert Aaronson 




Bob Brodsky 






Deborah Erickson 


2 




Debra Goldman 






Mary Guzzy 


4 




Fenton Johnson 






David Leitner 






Toni Treadway 




Editorial Assistant: 


Debra Payne 




Art Directors: 


Michael L. Dowdy 
Julia Gran 




Advertising: 


Barbara Spence; 
Marionette, Inc. 
(718-773-9869) 




Distributor: 


Bernhard DeBoer 
113 E. Center St., 
Nutley NJ OTllO 




Typesetting: 


Skeezo Typography 




Printer: 


PetCap Press 





The Independent is published ten times year- 
ly by the Foundation for Independent Video 
and Film, Inc. (FIVF), 625 Broadway, 9th Floor, 
New York, NY 10012. (212-473-3400), a not- 
for-profit, tax-exempt educational foundation 
dedicated to the promotion of video and 
film, and by the Association of Independent 
Video and Filmmakers, Inc. (AIVF), the na- 
tional trade association of independent pro- 
ducers and individuals involved in indepen- 
dent video and film. Subscription is included 
with membership in AIVF. Together FIVF and 
AIVF provide a broad range of educational 
and professional services for independents 
and the general public. Publication of The In- 
dependent is made possible in part with 
public funds from the New York State Council 
on the Arts and the National Endowment for 
the Arts, a federal agency. 

The Independent welcomes unsolicited 
manuscripts. Manuscripts cannot be returned 
unless a stamped, self-addressed envelope is 
included. No responsibility is assumed for loss 
or damage. 

Letters to The Independent should be ad- 
dressed to the editor. Letters may be edited 
for length. 

All contents are copyright of the Founda- 
tion for Independent Video and Film, Inc., ex- 
cept where otherwise noted. Reprints require 
written permission and acknowledgement of 
the article's previous appearance in The In- 
dependent. ISSN 0731-5198. 

©Foundation for Independent Video and Film. Inc. 
1985 

AIVF/FIVF STAFF MEMBERS: Lawrence Sapadin. 
executive director: Robert Aaronson, festival direc- 
tor; Andrea Estepa. membership services. Mary Guz- 
zy, administrative director; Sol Horwitz, Short Film 
Showcase project administrator; Susan Linfield. Short 
Film Showcase administrative assistant 
AIVF/FIVF BOARDS OF DIRECTORS: Robert Richter, 
president; William Greaves, vice president; Lillian 
Jimenez, chair; Barton Weiss, secretary. Pearl Bowser; 
St. Clair Bourne; Christine Choy; Loni Ding Peter 
Kinoy; Howard Petrick Lawrence Sapadin (ex of- 
ficio); Richard Schmiechen. 

MARCH 1985 



io 



CONTENTS 

FEATURES 

Getting High Tech: The "New" Television 

by Lucindo Furlong 

Picture This: Storyboards for Film and Video 
by Jay Padroff 

LETTERS 
MEDIA CLIPS 

Homeward Bound: Independents Enter Cassette 

Market 

by Debra Goldman 

CPB's Quota "Experiment" 

Low Tide for Long Beach Video? 

by Penee T aiima 

NEA Budget Rough Cut 
by Martha Gever 

Bennett Moves Up the Reagan Ladder 
by Susan Linfield 

Hollywood Cinematheque 

Who's Who on the CPB Board 

Andrews Hired at NEA 

Who's Where: New Media Appointments 

MOMA Dubbed 

FIELD REPORT 

The Screens of San Francisco 

by David Weissman 




12 LEGAL BRIEFS 

Let's Make a Deal 
by Paula R Schaap 

21 BOOK REVIEWS 

Cinema Strikes Back 
reviewed by Debra Goldman 

The Spot 

reviewed by Pat Thomson 

25 FESTIVALS 

Sinking Creek Film Celebration 
by Susan Korda 

Works by Women 

by Phyllis Jeroslow 

In Brief 

30 IN AND OUT OF PRODUCTION 

by Mary Guzzy 

32 NOTICES 

36 MEMORANDA 



COVER: Dara Birnbaum believes that "the form and materiality of (video) intrinsically binds it 
to 'mass media' and as such it must reach the masses." Her tape Remy/Grand Central Trains 
and Boats and Planes (1980), which mimics TV advertising, can be cited as an example of 
the growing number of videotapes that court a mass audience, discussed in Lucinda 
Furlong's "Getting High Tech: The 'New' Television." Photo video Data Bank 

THE INDEPENDENT 1 



LETTERS 



INSIDE STORY 

To the editor: 

1 want to thank you for an excellent article by 
Claudia Springer on ethnographic film ("Ethnocen- 
tric Circles: A Short History of Ethnographic Film," 
The Independent, December 1984]. At the same 
time, I'd like to point out one important collection of 
films— not really an organized movement — that was 
overlooked in the essay. 

In 1970, black anthropologist Delmos Jones pub- 
lished an important essay, "Toward a Native An- 
thropology," taking to task the traditional colonial 
assumption that the objective anthropologist must 
study exotic cultures other than his or her own, argu- 
ing instead that the cultural "insider" frequently has 
access to information that differs from and comple- 
ments that of the assumed "more objective" outsid- 
er. During the 1970s, a large body of American in- 
dependent films were made from this perspective, 
most notably the "American ethnic" films that 
surrounded the bicentennial. But because most of 
these films did not specifically identify themselves as 
ethnographic and were usually made by filmmakers 
without formal anthropological or ethnographic 
training, they are often overlooked as a body of 
ethnographic films. 

During the same period, however, several centers 
dedicated themselves to making such "insider" films 
in a manner consistent with the formal guidelines of- 
fered by Karl Heider's Ethnographic Film. As a 
southern filmmaker, I am more familiar with those 
from the South: Appalshop (Nature's Way is an ex- 
cellent introduction to their work), the Center for 
Southern Folklore (I would recommend Bill Ferris's 
Mississippi Delta Bluesmen: Give My Poor Heart 
Ease, to begin with), and the Alabama Film-Makers 
Co-Op (Greg Killmaster's Possum O'Possum is 
among the best films available on regional storytell- 
ing style and humor). Unfortunately, one very good 
film, Bill Gray's Let the Spirit Move, was made out- 
side the context of an institution and is now difficult 
to obtain. 

To cover this whole body of "insider" films ade- 
quately would require another essay. But to omit 
them entirely from an overview essay on ethno- 
graphic filmmaking overlooks both the largest body 
of ethnographic films and the most striking move- 
ment in ethnographic filmmaking to occur during the 
1970s. They are a necessary addition to Springer's 
overview, especially in the context of the critique of- 
fered by the introductory section of her article. 

— Wade Black 
St. Paul, MN 

SOUTH AFRICA REVISITED 

To the editor: 

As an independent filmmaker and supporter of anti- 
apartheid activities, I support Robert Mugge's deci- 
sion to have Black Wax screened in South Africa. His 
letter [The Independent, September 1984] explains 
his position well, describing the film as information 
rather than cultural artifact, and questioning 
whether a boycott of information is either intended 
or desirable. Neither of the letters objecting to his 



decision [The Independent, November 1984] made 
any attempt to address this question, preferring a 
simpler arena where all issues are black and white and 
name-calling supersedes discussion. 

I have great respect for the African National Con- 
gress, but it should be remembered that while the 
NAACP has long championed the fight for equality 
in our own country, their policies were never fol- 
lowed unquestioningly by every activist in that strug- 
gle. The question here is not who crosses the picket 
line, but why and to what effect. — David Appleby 

Memphis, TN 
To the editor: 

After reading the comments from Robert Mugge and 
St. Clair Bourne on the question of whether indepen- 
dent filmmakers should make their works available 
to be shown in South Africa [The Independent, 
September and November, 1984], I felt compelled to 
share my thoughts on the subject. First, we have to 
accept the undeniable fact that no rational person 
would support the despicable system of apartheid in 
South Africa. Second, we must recognize that the 
system exists only because of the power the govern- 
ment is able to wield outside its borders. And third, 
those outside those borders can either support, ig- 
nore, or oppose the system. 

I know neither Mugge nor Bourne supports the 
system. However, Bourne, by refusing to participate 
in any way in the Durban fesival, left no doubt that 
he opposes the racist regime, whereas Mugge, by 
allowing Black Wax to be shown there, left himself 
open to the criticism that anyone who ignores the 
United Nations's resolutions urging total isolation of 
South Africa and dismisses adherence to the African 
National Congress's cultural boycott is supporting 
apartheid, intentionally or unintentionally. 

I respect Mugge's right to choose where he allows 
his films to be shown, as I do that of any filmmaker, 
but as executive director of the National Black Pro- 
gramming Consortium, I reject requests to allow any 
production which I have supported to be shown in 
South Africa. NBPC turned down several South 
African offers to purchase productions through this 
organization. And, because NBPC helped fund the 
U.S. distribution of Black Wax to public television 
stations, I regret deeply that Mugge has permitted the 
film inside South Africa's borders. 

NBPC's position on showing films in South Africa 
was arrived at very early. I asked myself two ques- 
tions: Are black South Africans allowed to produce 
shows for the Durban festival and other mass com- 
munications media, and if not, why not (and why are 
we less concerned about black South Africans show- 
ing their works than we are about showing the works 
of people outside South Africa)? Would I want a 
child of mine to grow up in South Africa and have no 
say as to what he or she sees on television or in 
theaters, no matter what the content, but always be 
subjected to seeing only that approved by the child's 
tormentors? 

Moreover, I support the goals of people who op- 
pose such a system wherever it may be. As the United 
Nations's recognized representative of the majority 
of people in South Africa, the African National Con- 
gress should be consulted concerning the showing of 



productions and participation in cultural events by 
those from abroad, not the regime in Pretoria or an 
entity sanctioned by the regime. 

— Mable Haddock 
Columbus, OH 

PAYING THE PIPER 

To the editor: 

In her otherwise excellent article on use of music in 
films and videos ["Name That Tune," The Indepen- 
dent, November 1984], Paula Schapp neglects to 
mention one major issue. If Wheeler Dealer intends 
to use an existing recording made by a record com- 
pany which is a signatory to the American Federation 
of Musicians contract, that record company will, as a 
condition of obtaining rights to that recording, re- 
quire Wheeler to make such payments as are neces- 
sary to the players on that recording. In the Light My 
Fire example, if the Doors's version is to be used for a 
theatrical or commercial television picture, Wheeler 
will, in addition to obtaining the various licenses 
mentioned, have to pay single session theatrical rates 
(and pension) to every musician who played at the 
session during which Light My Fire was recorded. 

Since the major labels are all signatories to the 
Federation, this issue is one that must not be 
overlooked. The Federation, which is in Hollywood, 
will research the recording in order to help Wheeler 
determine who gets paid. If Wheeler is planning to 
use a recording that is more than a few years old, he 
better give ample time to the Federation— their old 
records are terrible (the written ones, that is). 

— Thomas Bliss 
Los Angeles, CA 

FRENCH CONNECTIONS 

To the editor: 

In your roundup of foreign film and video festivals in 
the November 1984 issue of The Independent, the 
item on Cinema du Reel, in which I was quoted, did 
not sufficiently stress the importance of the festival. 
Of the European festivals devoted solely to 
documentaries, Cinema du Reel has emerged as one 
of the most important, certainly the most important 
in France. Marie-Christine de Navacelle, who ad- 
ministers the festival and also serves as the executive 
producer of the films produced by the Centre 
Georges Pompidou, favors the work of indepen- 
dents. The festival is well organized, with a large 
press conference; with a little hustling a filmmaker 
can meet the leading critics, although it is wise to 
bring a translator if you don't speak French. 
Although this is a festival, not a market, people have 
begun to make some sales to French TV. Also, a great 
many film and videomakers, scholars, etc. come to 
the festival from all over Europe, so it is a good place 
to make contacts. The festival has begun to have 
some logistical problems because it attracts so many 
people, but for anyone interested in the European 
documentary scene, Cinema du Reel is a must. 

— William Sloan 

librarian, Museum of Modern Art 

New York, NY 



THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1985 



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HOMEWARD BOUND: INDEPENDENTS 
ENTER CASSETTE MARKET 



Although now immune to so much of the high 
tech hype, independents remain bullish on home 
video. The consumer video market is expanding 
just as the prognosticators promised. This 
January was a boom month for video stores, as a 
crush of customers rushed to the cassette shelves, 
eager to try the VCRs they got for Christmas. 
Last year, lots of people were talking about stak- 
ing a claim for independents in the home video 
gold rush [See Debra Goldman, "Home Video: 
New Outlet for Indies?" The Independent, 
July/ August 1984]. Today, a few are doing it. 

Last summer, Michael Pollack and Steve Sav- 
age, owners of the two New Video stores in Man- 
hattan, acquired non-exclusive rights to works 
by 37 film and videomakers, duplicated them in 
Beta and VHS formats, and launched the New 
Video Independent Series. The line-up, which 
includes such names as Eric Mitchell, Sarah 
Driver, Jim Jarmusch, and Mitchell Kriegman, 
immediately drew the hip and the curious. Six 
months later some of the tapes were still moving 
briskly. 

New Video paid for transfers and production 
costs; the producers helped put together graphics 
for the cassette covers, giving them, according to 
Pollack, a "cottage industry look" which only 
boosts their arty cachet. New Video pockets the 
revenues until its investment is recouped; any 
earnings above that are split 50-50 between the 
store and the producer. After the first account- 
ing of receipts for the series in mid-January, 
Pollack reports that six tapes had broken even. 
Although the partners are unlikely to dump their 
stock of Hollywood blockbusters and porn tapes 
on the strength of these returns, the results are 
encouraging enough to reinforce their desire to 
expand the series to 100 titles by the end of this 
year. 

Savage and Pollack deliberately created the 
Independent Series as a collaboration between 
the stores, the producers (all based in New York) 
and the sizable community of knowledgeable 
film buffs that surrounds them. Most of the pro- 
ducers eager to join the series are also from the 
city. New Video was recently contacted by a pro- 
ducer from Portland, and, if he were to become 
part of the series, Pollack says, "We would hope 
that video stores in Portland would be as 
supportive of the work as we try to be here." 

Because, so far, the word-of-mouth urban 
nexus has been a key to success, Pollack was 
cautious about expanding the series' geograph- 



ical market too rapidly. By special arrangement, 
a few tapes have gone out by mail, and the store 
fields inquiries from retailers in other parts of the 
country; but except for a few stores in Califor- 
nia, the partners have refused most of them. 
"We wouldn't want the tapes to go to retailers 
who didn't understand what this work is all 
about. They wouldn't know how to handle it, 
and it would create a bad precedent. Selling these 
tapes is one of those inch-by-inch kind of 
battles." Their hope, however, is that eventually 
they will be able to develop relationships with a 
nationwide network of stores that will handle the 
series in the right way. 

While New Video's experimental independent 
home video concentrates on a distinctive com- 
munity in a distinctive locale, the Home Film 
Festival, a project of filmmakers Dan and Mark 
Jury, takes the opposite approach. It is aimed at 
people who live in the "wrong places": towns 
and suburbs served only by mall triplexes stocked 
with Hollywood films. Although the brothers do 
their filmmaking work in New York, they them- 
selves live in a wrong place — Scranton, Pennsyl- 
vania. They rarely get to see the films they want 
to see, and they figured there were others out 
there like them. In September, after some 
number crunching, a large investment in com- 
puter hard- and software, and the enlistment of 
the programming services of film critic Rob 
Edelman, they initiated the festival: a nation- 
wide mail order video rental club that caters to 
film buffs with art house tastes. 

More than 300 films are available, including 
independent features and documentaries, recent 
and classic foreign films, cult films, limited 
release Hollywood features, children's films, 
and performance films. Membership in the club 
is $25 the first year and S20 thereafter. Rentals 
are more expensive than in conventional video 
stores: six dollars for three days of one cassette, 
S 1 1 for two, plus two-way postage via UPS or the 
mail (there is a toll-free number for ordering). 

Apparently, people who cannot see these kinds 
of films any other way consider the club a bar- 
gain. Membership, says Mark Jury, is "growing 
geometrically. The first month we had 10 mem- 
bers, and the next we had 100. And it continues 
to grow at that pace." The festival survived an 
early unsuccessful attempt at marketing by direct 
mail. "It was a bust. We sent out 17,000 pieces 
and got six replies. The percentages didn't even 
show up on our calculator." But advertisements, 



press attention, and word-of-mouth support 
from personalities like public-television-turned- 
syndication star Roger Ebert of At the Movies 
have generated so much interest that the festival 
is already making enough to cover day-to-day 
operating expenses. 

In light of what the Jurys have learned about 
their members through phone conversations, it is 
not surprising that conventional mailing lists 
could not find them. Their members are not only 
geographically widespread, but a significant 
percentage live in remote parts of the country', 
and, at least until the Home Film Festival, played 
no part in the entertainment media marketplace. 
Many live miles from the nearest movie theater. 
Some who called to inquire about the club did 
not own VCRs. The festival even heard from 
three or four people who did not own televisions. 
Given the fact that well over 90 percent of U.S. 
households possess at least one television set, it is 
clear that the Jurys have tapped a rather obscure 
comer of the media market. 

The Jurys also learned that members tend to 
be bookish; they are readers who stay in touch 
with the culture through magazines and news- 
papers. Thus, where direct mail failed, ads in 
film journals like American Film and Film Com- 
ment have had considerable impact. In most 
cases, Jury claims, the members "have read 
about these films. They know the subjects, the 
plots, the characters. They know everything 
about them. They just can't see them." 

Yet because members are guided by the atten- 
tion of the press, the Home Film Festival is for 
now limited to films which have some name rec- 
ognition, at least in sophisticated filmgoer cir- 
cles. Theatrical releases and the reviewers' blurbs 
that go with them are a must. Foreign films are 
often the best known titles offered, and they 
make up the bulk of the rentals (seven of the 
eight top- renting cassettes are from abroad). 
Berlin Alexanderplatz, for example, which rents 
for S30 per week, is reserved through the end of 
this year. The single most popular tape, however, 
is the domestic feature El Norte. Among the 
other independent productions which Jury de- 
scribed as doing well are John Sayles's films, 
Burden of Dreams, The Atomic Cafe, and 
Harlan County USA. For the most part, he says, 
independents do better than limited-release 
Hollywood movies. 

Jury' was not quite ready to label the Home 
Film Festival a success. He says, "When we went 



THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1985 



into this, we wanted it to look like we meant 
business," and it will take years to earn back the 
hundreds of thousands of dollars it cost to reno- 
vate their business headquarters in Scranton, 
start up the computer, and produce the up-scale 
membership packet. "It looks like it will work," 
he says. "We'll just have to see how big it gets." 

Both the Juiys and Pollack and Savage ques- 
tion whether Mark Rappaport could do as well 
as John Sayles in Hawk Village, Vermont. The 
two ventures remain distinct approaches toward 
integrating independents into the home video 
revolution. While New Video is splitting the 
profits with its producer "partners," the festival, 
like a conventional video store, buys its cassettes 
outright and keeps the rental income. New Video 
cultivates an already established audience in a 
new way; the festival uncovers new audiences. 
Finally, for independents to make it big as part 
of the New Video series or some equivalent, the 
made-for-home-video market will have to ex- 
pand, while to be successful in a set-up like the 
Home Film Festival, independents must first 
break the recognition barrier in a theatrical 
release. 

As a commodity, home video is a contradic- 
tion. On its face, it is just another form of mass 
distribution, and both the enthusiasm and fear it 
generates in the entertainment industry stem 
from its potential for volume sales. Yet more 
than any other media product, home video indi- 
vidualizes the consumer: in theory at least, a pro- 
ducer's work need not have mass appeal if, 
through cassette, it can reach the more special- 
ized audience that will appreciate it. It is this 
characteristic which makes home video so attrac- 
tive to independents, and which both these ven- 
tures hope to exploit . —Debra Goldman 

CPB'S QUOTA "EXPERIMENT" 

Ron Hull, director of CPB's Program Fund, 
dropped a small bombshell on the conference 
table when Program Fund staffers met with rep- 
resentatives of the National Coalition of In- 
dependent Public Broadcasting Producers in 
late November. He was fresh from the PBS Pro- 
gram Fair in Seattle, where public television sta- 
tions buy — or do not buy — CPB-funded pro- 
gramming, and the coalition had heard rumors 
that while at the fair, Hull had announced his in- 
tention to assign four seats on the nine-member 
Open Solicitation panel to station representa- 
tives. Hull's confirmation of that decision before 
the coalition was not an auspicious opening to 
the second meeting between independent pro- 
ducer reps and CPB, which are designed to ad- 
dress independents' concerns within public 
broadcasting. 

Confronted with this fait accompli, the coali- 
tion responded with predictable outrage. The 
stations already have total discretion over 60 per- 
cent of federal funding for public television. The 



Program Fund and its panel process were creat- 
ed by statute in 1978 precisely to counterbalance 
station influence, open PTV to outside resourc- 
es, and encourage more programming risks by 
the stations. Since few stations have any ex- 
perience working with small independents, the 
coalition fears that panels from within the 
system will, on the one hand, prefer safe pro- 
gramming that is likely to sit well with the folks at 
home and, on the other, be attracted to the 
larger, semi-commercial independents with 
whom they are more familiar. 

Only last March, the CPB board vetoed an 
agreement between independents and the Pro- 
gram Fund to set aside a certain percentage of 
supplemental production dollars for indepen- 
dently produced programming. At that time the 
board declared its fundamental opposition to 
any kind of "set asides" and invoked its right to 
exercise complete discretion over all aspects of 
CPB business. Coalition reps argued that Hull's 
new panel policy was at odds with existing board 
policy. 

Superficially, the new strategy makes a certain 
amount of sense for CPB. With a White House 
that seems to regard CPB as little more than a 
sinkhole in the federal budget, there cannot help 
but be a little anxiety at the Corporation about 
improving its track record with the stations. As 
Hull argued, the stations are CPB's "consum- 
ers," and by increasing their participation in the 
programming process at its source, CPB is more 
likely to produce works that the stations will ac- 
tually air. Unwittingly, however, Hull may have 
given ammunition to those within the public 
television system who are not admirers of CPB 
or its Program Fund. For if it is so desirable to in- 
crease the stations' discretion over program 
dollars, they may well ask: Why have the Pro- 
gram Fund at all? Why not bypass the Washing- 
ton middlemen altogether, and give the money 
directly to the stations? 

Hull's additional argument — that the station 
representatives would not vote as a bloc, but as 
"individuals" — struck the coalition as disingen- 
uous. "Wrongheaded" was their label for his 
assertion that the "independent cause will be 
best served" by the presence of station personnel 
because the panel will provide an opportunity 
for stations to learn about independents and the 
kinds of work they produce. Station personnel 
may well need educating, but the panel that de- 
cides who gets the production dollars hardly 
seems the place to do it. 

"It would be one thing," coalition member 
Jeffrey Chester of California told Broadcasting 
magazine, "if Hull said, 'Okay, there'll be four 
station people, four independents and one ex- 
pert.' But he's only willing to do it for the sta- 
tions." The new policy may also shortcircuit a 
small but significant trend toward station-inde- 
pendent co-productions which has emerged in 
the past few years, thanks to the belief among 



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THE INDEPENDENT 



stations that the presence of an independent in 
the production package boosted a proposal's 
chances with the panel. 

At the November meeting, Hull stood firm on 
his new panel policy despite coalition protests. 
But perhaps as a result of the coalition's success 
in attracting the press's attention to the dispute, 
he has subsequently softened his position. At an 
FIVF-sponsored CPB outreach seminar in De- 
cember, Hull decribed the station quota as an 
"experiment" which will be tested over the next 
two rounds of panels. "We'll see how it works 
and then we'll review it," he said. 

Despite the flap over the panel, the November 
meeting did yield some positive results, 
specifically regarding promotion of independent 
programming, which has traditionally been a 
sore point for independents. While at one time 
CPB reserved a small percentage of its budget 
for promotion, these days such funds go directly 
to the stations, for use at their own discretion; 
the result is that there is often "no money" to 
promote independent work. At the meeting, 
CPB and the coalition agreed in principle that 
funds need to be available for promotion of in- 
dependent and minority work, although no 
specific formula was reached. Since the coalition 
rejected CPB's suggestion that such money be 
sliced from the production pie, both sides are at- 
tempting to develop options through appointed 
liaison representatives. 

The next meeting between CPB and the coali- 
tion will be held at the end of this month. In 
terms of its own development, the coalition's 
strategy is to get more producers involved in its 
work at the local level. In its brief history, this ad 
hoc national group has succeeded in introducing 
into the Program Fund's agenda concerns which 
otherwise would not be there. As Lawrence 
Sapadin, AIVF executive director and spokes- 
person for the coalition, reported in a letter to 
coalition members, "[We have] demonstrated to 
CPB that we will not go away." — DG 

LOW TIDE FOR 
LONG BEACH VIDEO? 

In January, the Long Beach Museum of Art 
(LBMA) completed a major retrospective repre- 
senting 10 years of its video programs. Under the 
guidance of curators David Ross, Nancy Drew 
and Kathy Huffman, the video program has 
achieved international stature for its exhibitions, 
archives and production/postproduction annex. 
But even as the video program celebrated its first 
decade as a leader in museum-based video, there 
was speculation that the video program is in 
danger of being abandoned under new museum 
management. 

Is the news of impending death greatly exag- 
gerated? According to museum staff and board 
members, yes. The video program is continuing 
business as usual, and even expanding. A major 
catalogue has just been completed for the 



retrospective, all funding and plans for 1985 are 
in place, and the Video Annex is in the process of 
building a new production studio and control 
room. Says assistant curator Connie Fitzsim- 
mons, "The program is an important part of the 
institution, and will continue to be." 

"I don't know how the rumors started and 
when they're going to end," adds Fitzsimmons, 
"but they're not doing the program any good." 
Fitzsimmons has been co-directing the program 
with Kira Perov since Huffman left the museum 
in May for a job at Boston's Institute of Contem- 
porary Art. Yet a cloud of uncertainty has con- 
tinued to hang over the program, fueled by con- 
fusion over new developments at LBMA, in- 
cluding the museum administration's failure to 
hire a replacement for Huffman. 

At the root of the confusion is a museum- wide 
adminstrative transition. LBMA is currently 
operated by the Parks and Recreation Depart- 
ment of the City of Long Beach, with Greg 
Devereaux, the city's superintendent of cultural 
services, as acting director. Last year the LBMA 
Foundation — a constellation of volunteer sup- 
port and fundraising groups — proposed to take 
over management of the museum. According to 
Devereaux, the foundation will assume control, 
provided it can raise $300,000 and present a 
satisfactory' development plan to the city by June 
30; until then, hiring has been frozen. 

Spearheading the transition effort is the foun- 
dation's new executive director, Stephen Gar- 
rett, hired in the fall of 1984. Garrett's arrival on 
the scene raised much of the speculation regard- 
ing the video program's future. Formerly the 
director of the Getty Museum — a few miles up 
the Pacific Coast in Malibu — Garrett has little or 
no background in video art, although he will 
become head of the museum if and when the 
foundation assumes management. 

Garrett attended the LBMA retrospective and 
the American Film Institute's National Video 
Festival to acquaint himself with the medium, 
but whether that has made him a convert re- 
mains to be seen. Says Garrett, "Video art is 
clearly an alive, interesting, vital form of con- 
temporary art. There would be absolutely no 
question in my mind that video should never be 
shown at the Long Beach Museum of Art — that 
would be a ridiculous position to take. The 
degree to which the museum will exhibit or pro- 
duce video is the question." For example, Gar- 
rett regards the museum's video annex as 
somewhat problematic in view of the 
institution's curatorial interests. The annex is a 
rare bird in the universe of museums — a creative 
unit that actually produces and facilitates the 
production of works of art. Garrett wonders if 
the annex could result in a "conflict of judg- 
ment" for curators, who would theoretically be 
asked to choose between works of both in-house 
and unaffiliated artists. 

Will the video program stay at LBMA? While 



Garrett voices his unequivocal support and 
acknowledges its success, he added, "There is no 
question in any way of killing the video program. 
But the question in my mind is whether or not it 
would flourish better under this museum or 
another institution." The foundation's board 
president, Jennifer Cameron, is more commit- 
tal. "Anything is possible," she says, "but video 
is one of our strongest programs. If we take over 
the management of the museum, we plan to 
maintain and expand all of our programs." 
According to Cameron, the board has pushed 
the city to hire a new curator to replace Huffman 
and hopes the position will be filled by spring. 

The museum's administrative future remains 
the board's dominant concern at the moment. 
Says Patrick Scott, president of the 80-odd 
member Video Council and its representative on 
the board, "The board is involved in heavy-duty 
fundraising right now." Even if the foundation 
assumes administrative control of the museum 
by June, there would be lengthy discussions 
before any programming changes could be 
made, Garrett points out. And no administra- 
tion would, presumably, overlook the world- 
class prestige the video program has attained. 

— Renee Tajima 

NEA BUDGET ROUGH CUT 

With staggering national deficits occupying 
those who oversee federal expenditures, no one 
could register much surprise when, in mid-Janu- 
ary, a proposal for an 1 1 .7 percent cut in the 1 986 
budget for the National Endowment for the Arts 
was leaked to the press. In a front page story, the 
New York Times detailed the specific reductions 
in various NEA programs this would entail; the 
Media Arts Program would be cut 7.8 percent, 
receiving $9.4-million compared to $10.2-million 
in 1985. Under the plan, funding for all other 
NEA programs would drop considerably, while 
the budget for "policy, planning and research" 
would be boosted 7.1 percent, reaching approxi- 
mately $1.1 -million. 

Officials at both the NEA and the Office of 
Management and Budget denied having given 
this information to the Times and refused to an- 
swer questions on the subject. Nevertheless, 
Larry Speakes, President Reagan's press secre- 
tary, acknowledged, "The story in the Times is 
generally accurate." RhodaGlickman, executive 
director of the Congressional Arts Caucus, a 
bipartisan group of 176 federal legislators, said 
that the figures had been confirmed by the White 
House staff, adding that earlier rumors concern- 
ing OMB's requests for the 1986 NEA allocation 
projected only a three to four percent cut. Still, 
as executive director of the American Arts Alli- 
ance Anne Murphy pointed out, the $144.5-mil- 
lion budget proposal cited in the Times represents 
a slight increase over the 1985 administration re- 
quest. And every year since 1981 Congress has 



THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1985 



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appropriated significantly more money for the 
NEA than the White House recommends. Last 
year, $143.8-million was requested and $163.7-mil- 
lion appropriated. 

Several factors may affect this pattern, 
however, when 1986 budget decisions are made. 
Most obvious is the deficit consciousness 
presently inflecting all discussion of future 
federal spending. Murphy and Glickman both 
noted the modest size of the NEA budget relative 
to most other government programs (0.19 per- 
cent of the total figure). Glickman commented 
that, faced with bipartisan support for the arts, 
the White House "would find it hard to justify 
such cuts, when a large increase in defense 
spending is also being considered." A more 
probable scenario, in her view, is an item-by-item 
or overall budget freeze. "Members are not go- 
ing to let the arts be singled out for deeper cuts," 
she said. 

Politics could also enter into the decisions 
concerning NEA's fiscal fate. The Reagan philo- 
sophy regarding arts funding (and domestic pro- 
grams in general) has proposed replacing federal 
support with private philanthropy. But, during 
Reagan's first term, this strategy has not proved 
adequate. According to Murphy, "Corporate 
funding of the arts is down and expenses are 
up." Yet, even among those designated to chart 



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the direction of federal arts policy and its ad- 
ministration, antipathy to public support for the 
arts is becoming more pronounced. Samuel Lip- 
man, music critic for Commentary, publisher of 
the neoconservative New Criterion, and a 
Reagan appointee to the National Council on the 
Arts, has emerged as a spokesperson for this 
position, regularly denouncing the performance 
of the NEA and questioning its viability. And in 
the November 1984 issue of the New Criterion, 
he remarked, "[A]s the people lose faith in God 
and in the state, appropriations for culture and 
the rhetoric of its advocacy go up like the hottest 
of hot-air balloons." When interviewed by the 
Times on the proposed NEA budget reductions, 
Lipman equivocated, instead taking the oppor- 
tunity to fault the agency's definitions of artistic 
criteria. Recently, Commentary and New 
Criterion writer Joseph Epstein was also ap- 
pointed to the National Council. During the NEA 
budget debate, the members of this prominent ad- 
visory body will undoubtably be consulted. 

OMB's 1986 budget will be finalized and 
made public in early February, and at some point 
testimony from various segments of the arts 
community will be heard by congressional com- 
mittees. At its January meeting, the board of 
directors of the Association of Independent 
Video and Filmmakers passed a resolution op- 



posing cuts in the Endowment's budget. The 
American Arts Alliance and other advocacy 
groups, including AIVF, will lobby strongly 
against the White House recommendations, and 
Glickman said she's "optimistic that Congress 
will treat the arts fairly." Murphy, too, seemed 
confident that the NEA appropriation will not 
suffer drastic cuts in this round. "The White 
House has given up fighting us on this," she said. 
In 1981 , in the first months of the Reagan era, 
appropriations for the arts and humanities en- 
dowments became an ideological battle; the Rea- 
gan administration tried to curtail federal spend- 
ing for culture — implementing the strategies laid 
out in the right-wing Heritage Foundation's 
report to the Reagan transition team — but they 
lost. Now, the ideological front has shifted; 
Murphy believes the next showdown will occur 
during this congressional session, when Con- 
gress considers an authorization bill that enables 
the Endowments to exist and defines what they 
can and cannot fund. Given the current political 
climate and changes at the NEA and NEH dur- 
ing the past four years, cultural policy in the U.S. 
could be ripe for Reaganite revisions. [The April 
issue of The Independent will describe the 
authorization process and the Heritage Founda- 
tion's recommendations for cultural policy in 
Reagan's second term.] — Martha Gever 



MARCH 1985 



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BENNETT MOVES UP 
THE REAGAN LADDER 

President Reagan has announced the nomina- 
tion of William J. Bennett, chairman of the Na- 
tional Endowment for the Humanities, as 
Secretary of Education, to replaceT.H. Bell, who 
left the post last December. According to the 
New York Times [January 11, 1985], White 
House spokesman Larry Speakes said the Presi- 
dent simultaneously asked Bennett, upon confir- 
mation by the Senate, to study the feasibility of 
eliminating the Education Department. No suc- 
cessor to Bennett has been named. 

Reaction among educators to the Bennett 
nomination has been mixed — with both praise 
and criticism centering on Bennett's emphasis, as 
NEH chair, on classical humanism ("master- 
works") and his centralized administrative style. 
American Federation of Teachers president 
Albert Shanker was quoted in the New York 
Times as saying, "Bill Bennett has the qualifica- 
tions to be an outstanding Secretary' of Educa- 
tion because he . . . believes that American class- 
rooms ought to be about reading great works 
and thinking . . . about the . . . enduring values of 
our civilization." Samuel R. Gammon, execu- 
tive director of the American Historical Associa- 
tion, told The Independent, "Personally, I'm 
delighted," and added, "Historians generally 
have been extremely pleased with [Bennett's] 
emphasis on restoring humanities to their basic 
place in the curriculum." 

In fact, Bennett's tenure as Endowment chair 
has met with a decidedly mixed reaction from the 
academic community. At its annual meeting in 
December, the AHA council voted to request a 
meeting with Bennett to discuss NEH grants. 
"There was concern that under [Bennett's] 
leadership the Endowment had become un- 
friendly to what we call the 'newer historical 
fields' — women's history, black history, social 
history," explains Richard Kirkendall, Henry A. 
Wallace professor at Iowa State Univer- 
sity/Ames and vice-president of the AHA's pro- 
fessional division. 

Mary Beth Norton, professor of history at 
Cornell University and vice-president for re- 
search of the AHA, says Bennett is in some re- 
spects a good choice for Secretary of Education 
because "he has made education one of his ma- 
jor concerns at the Endowment, and has em- 
phasized the centra] importance of the humani- 
ties, which is especially important today, when 
students are extremely oriented toward careers." 
But, she adds, "My quarrel with him is in the 
way he's defined the humanities: the study of 
great white men who died at least 200 years ago." 
Norman Birnbaum, University Professor at the 
Georgetown University Law Center, adds, 
"Bennett's strength [as NEH chair] was also his 
weakness: his strong attention to the notion of 



tradition and culture. But this narrowed his 
perspective and blinded, or at least hindered, his 
realization that tradition has to be continually 
renewed." Birnbaum speculates that, as Secre- 
tary of Education, "there's a danger that in 
following his own notion of culture, Bennett 
might find himself with allies among the yahoos, 
the back-to-basics, which is to some extent a 
cover for the fear that kids might learn 
something at school that their parents don't tell 
them." 

Bennett's administrative style has also been 
questioned. Norton, a member of the NEH's 
National Council on the Humanities from 
1978-1984, says that, under Bennett, the NEH 
"very definitely" became more centralized and 
less receptive to peer panel recommendations. 
"In many ways, Bennett circumvented the peer 
review process, both to further his views and to 
favor cronies of his — which is really reprehensi- 
ble," Norton says. "That's a question I would 
have about him as Secretary of Education — his 
disregard for proper procedure, which made him 
in many ways not a good administrator." 
Gerhard L. Weinberg, professor of history at the 
University of North Carolina/Chapel Hill and 
former vice-president for research of the AHA, 
says that while he personally agrees with Ben- 
nett's emphasis on masterworks, he disagrees 
with the "way in which he perceived his role: 
centralizing initiatives in himself, rather than 
[supporting] initiatives that came forward from 
the humanities community." He added, "Oddly 
enough, this administation had an NEH director 
who saw in each initiative his vision, his percep- 
tion, and thought that other concepts should be 
pushed into the background as much as 
possible — exactly the opposite of what the ad- 
ministration says is the [decentralized] role of the 
federal government." 

Weinberg also questions Bennett's commit- 
ment to federal funding for the humanities. 
"Bennett invariably supported" Reagan's 
budgets containing cuts in funds for the NEH, 
"and Congress almost invariably raised them," he 
says. "His public posture was not one of advo- 
cacy for the humanities within the federal budg- 
et." One week after announcing Bennett's nom- 
ination as Secretary of Education, the /View York 
Times reported that the Reagan Administration 
plans to ask Congress to reduce NEH funds by 
1 percent in the next fiscal year. — Susan Linfield 

HOLLYWOOD 
CINEMATHEQUE 

The American Cinematheque, a state-of-the-art 
film, television, and video archive, is scheduled 
to open in 1987 on the site of the 50-year-old Pan 
Pacific Auditorium in Los Angeles, which is be- 
ing remodeled to house a hotel, stores, offices, 
and the Cinematheque. 

According to artistic director Gary Essert, 
founder and former director of Filmex, the idea 



8 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1985 



for the center — which is modeled after major 
film archives such as Henry Langlois's Cinema- 
theque Francaise — has been incubating for six 
years. Says Essert, "We want to really raise 
awareness of the moving image art form in the 
public's mind." The planned facility will include 
two film theaters, a video theater, and a 
laboratory facility where new installations and 
multimedia programs could be created. 

The programming fare will be broad, blend- 
ing classics with foreign and independent works. 
According to Essert, "There will be over 2,000 
programs per year, and independent cinema will 
comprise a big portion. It's especially important 
to use this opportunity to expose the work of 
new talent because we're located in the backyard 
of the film industry." The staff will originate 50 
to 60 percent of the programming; the balance 
will come from institutions such as the Film 
Forum, the Kitchen, and the Whitney Museum 
of American Art. 

The Cinematheque is still in the process of 
raising funds as it awaits completion of renova- 
tions on the auditorium. — R T 

WHO'S WHO ON THE CPB 
BOARD 

•Richard Brookheiser (1983-1987). Senior 
editor, National Review; contributor, American 
Spectator; member, Council on Foreign Rela- 
tions and the Philadelphia Society. 

•Howard D. Gutin (1984-1989). President and 
general manager, Southwest Texas Public 
Broadcasting Council; former career U.S. Army 
officer; active in Jewish Federation of San An- 
tonio and United Negro College Fund. 

• William Lee Hanley, Jr. (1984-1987). Head of 
Hanley Company, clay products and oil explora- 
tion firm; partner in Black, Manafort & Stone, 
political consulting firm; former executive direc- 
tor, Connecticut Reagan-Bush Committee. 

•Lillian Edens Herndon (1975-1986). Former 
chair, CPB Board; president, National Congress 
of Parents and Teachers. 
•Lloyd Kaiser (1984-1989). President and 
general manager, Metropolitan Pittsburgh 
Public Broadcasting; former vice-chair, Public 
Broadcasting Service. 

•Sonia Landau (1981-1986). Chair, CPB board; 
corporate consultant; chair, Women for 
Reagan-Bush; formerly served on Reagan's Na- 
tional Endowment for the Arts transition team 
and as executive director, New York State 
Republican Finance Committee. 

•Harry O'Connor (1983-1986). Head of 
O'Connor Creative Services, radio production 
and marketing firm that handles Reagan's daily 
radio commentary; founding president, Inde- 
pendent Producers Association. 

• Sharon Percy Rockefeller ( 1 977- 1 987) . Former 
chair, CPB Board; member, board of directors 



of Stanford University, National Women's 
Political Caucus, the Women's Campaign Fund, 
and International Council for the Museum of 
Modern Art. 

•R. Kenneth Tower^ 198 1-1 986). President and 
founder of Sentinel Corporation, business and 
political consulting firm; former deputy direc- 
tor, United States Information Agency; former 
press secretary to Senator John Tower; former 
assistant to the chancellor, University of Texas 
system. 

•Howard A. White (1979-1986). Executive vice- 
president and general counsel, ITT Communica- 
tions and Information Services; former general 
attorney and executive secretary, U.S. Earth Sta- 
tion Ownership Committee; former assistant 
chief, FCC Common Carrier Bureau . — R T 

ANDREWS HIRED AT NEA 

Richard Andrews has been appointed director of 
the National Endowment for the Arts' s Visual 
Arts Program, which administers fellowships to 
visual artists, including videomakers and 
photographers. Andrews formerly served as the 
Art in Public Places coordinator for the Seattle 
Arts Commission. As an artist, he makes 
sculpture and works on paper. 

WHO'S WHERE: NEW 
MEDIA APPOINTMENTS 

Celia Chong, coordinator, Global Village 
Documentary' Center, New York City; Jewel 
Curvin, executive director, Black Filmmaker 
Foundation, New York City; Stewart Hodes, ex- 
ecutive director, The Kitchen, New York City; 
David Madson, executive director, Boston 
Film/ Video Foundation; Robert Hull, executive 
director, USA Film Festival, Dallas; Tony Saf- 
ford, director of exhibitions and conferences, 
Sundance Institute, Park City, Utah; Linny 
Stovall, executive director, the Media Project, 
Portland, Oregon replacing Karen Wicker, now 
director of the Media Alliance in San Francisco; 
Margie Strosser, exhibitions coordinator, Pitts- 
burgh Filmmakers; Jay Volk, operations 
manager, Pittsburgh Filmmakers; Richard 
Brookheiser, chair of CPB's newly established 
Missions and Goals Committee. And Ellen 
Geiger has retired as president of the Film Arts 
Foundation's board of directors. 

MOMA DUBBED 

The December 19, 1984 issue of Variety reported 
that Mary Lea Bandy, Adrienne Mancia, and 
Steven Harvey of the Museum of Modern Art 
film department will be knighted by French 
Minister of Culture Jack Lang, with Arts and 
Letters honors. The three were responsible for 
organizing MOMA's "Rediscovering French 
Film" series, exhibited during 1981-83. 





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MARCH 1985 



THE INDEPENDENT 



FIELD REPORTI 



THE SCREENS OF SAN FRANCISCO 



David Weissman 

Video art in the San Francisco area dates back to 
the late 1960s, when the National Center for Ex- 
periments in Television was set up at KQED. In 
the last four years, however, an explosion of ac- 
tivity has created many new venues for indepen- 
dent work in theaters, art galleries, schools, and 
nightclubs, such as the Sixteenth Note, the Cine- 
matheque, Capp Street Project, Camerawork, 
Co-Lab, the New Generic, New Langton Arts, 
and Kanzaki Lounge. 

The oldest screening space in the Bay Area, 
Video Free America, is still going strong in 1985, 
continuing the screening series it began in 1978. 
Last spring, VFA launched a two-week Indepen- 
dent Video Showcase, which included documen- 
taries, animation, dramatic narrative, and dance 
video by over 50 northern California artists at 
eight different locations. The showcase then 
went on tour, stopping at Global Village in New 
York City and Media Study/Buffalo. A high- 
light of the festival was Peter Adair's Stopping 
History, an hour-long documentary on civil 
disobedience at the Lawrence Livermore Nu- 
clear Weapons Laboratory in California. Unfor- 
tunately, the showcase proved to be a financial 
disaster for VFA, turning its regular screening 
series into an irregular one by the end of the year, 
but VFA still managed to present well-attended 
shows of tapes by Peter D'Agostino, John San- 
born, Julia Reichert, and a work-in-progress 
screening of The Times of Harvey Milk, among 
others. 

In February 1984, the Video Gallery, a pro- 
geny of the five-year-old San Francisco Interna- 
tional Video Festival, opened its doors. Co- 
founders Wendy Garfield and Steve Agetstein 
wanted to "create a space that's comfortable to 
be in"; the result is a pleasant cafe setting which 
nonetheless allows serious video viewing. Atten- 
dance at the Video Gallery's 19 shows last year 
averaged 82 — an impressive accomplishment. In 
line with Agetstein 's plans for "a prestigious 
situation for professional artists," the gallery 
presented premieres of work by Juan Downey, 
Nam June Paik, John Sanborn, Les Levine, 
Tony Labat, Julia Heyward, and Tony Oursler. 

The Video Gallery has also been in the fore- 
front of home video distribution of artists' tapes. 
In 1983, tapes by Meredith Monk, Dan Reeves, 
Paik, and Shigeko Kubota were released for na- 
tional distribution. This year two more tapes 
featuring work by more than a dozen indepen- 
dent videomakers will go on the market. The 
California Arts Council is supporting these ef- 
forts: it doubled its grant to the gallery for the 



specific purpose of hiring a new staff person to 
promote home video distribution and increase 
sales of its magazine, Send (formerly Video 80). 
Complementing VFA and the Video Gallery's 
contribution to the San Francisco video scene is 
Martin Weber Studio, a showcase for work by 
up-and-coming young talent, which champions 
Vi " video productions. Programming at Martin 
Weber is an eclectic mix of performance, nar- 
rative, science fiction, and poetic video, punc- 
tuated with social criticism. Co-founder Mar- 
shall Weber's In Search of Big Fun portrays the 
lost innocence of American tourists who become 



The Widow Maker, her latest tape screened at 
Martin Weber, Lamb intercuts shots of a black 
widow spider wandering around a miniature set 
with a narrative about a black transsexual bride, 
adding a chorus of schoolgirls playing cat's 
cradle, to make a satirical comment on mythical 
images of woman-as-huntress. 

80 Langton, an alternative space founded in 
the seventies by the San Francisco Art Dealers 
Association, often included video exhibitions in 
its programs. Renamed New Langton Arts and 
relocated on Folsom Street, the gallery now 
features the only continuous video screenings in 




From Joanne Kelly's "Emergency Exit," screened at Video Free America, the Bay Area's 

Oldest tape Screening Space. Courtesy Videomaker 



aware of and involved in the European anti-nu- 
clear movement. Weber's The Day After: 
Remix, which premiered at the gallery (followed 
by a three-week run at New Langton Arts) crit- 
ically dissects the famous TV program and panel 
discussion, using associative editing to make a 
sardonic point. 

Works by Bay Area women Lise Swenson and 
Gina Lamb indicate other facets of Martin 
Weber's programming. Swenson's Twelve Noon 
is a gripping mystery, narrated by a young Costa 
Rican boy, who describes his family's mystical 
Catholicism. Lamb, a graduate of the San Fran- 
cisco Art Institute, describes her dramatic 
videotapes as using "taxidermic animal puppets 
or masks" to anthropomorphically "exaggerate 
the absurdity of the human social condition." In 



the Bay Area. Exhibitions, lasting from one to 
four weeks, are planned for the rest of the year; 
the screening room, which seats only about a 
dozen people, is equipped with tri-standard Yi " 
and V* " playback decks. According to gallery 
representative Renny Pritikin, New Langton is 
looking for all kinds of work except "conven- 
tionally structured documentaries and MTV- 
style music videos." 

Last but not least of the major video venues to 
be reckoned with is the San Francisco Museum 
of Modern Art. Recently, interpretive programs 
assistant Beau Takahara revived video exhibition 
at the museum, which had been at a low ebb ever 
since the departure of veteran video curator 
David Ross in the late seventies. In 1984 
Takahara brought the Whitney Biennial Video 



lO THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1985 



Exhibition to San Francisco and curated "Bay 
Area Focus: Video Update," which included a 
world premiere of Credo, by San Francisco Art 
Institute instructor Paul Kos. Unfortunately the 
museum still has no video department, although 
video is increasingly being used to interpret 
painting, sculpture, and photography shows for 
the museum's visitors. One encouraging sign: in 
1985 and 1986, commissioned video installations 
by Bill Viola and Juan Downey will be on promi- 
nent display. 

Many Bay Area exhibitors acknowledge the 
general neglect of work by women and minority 
artists. The major exception is Video Free 
America, where tapes by women accounted for 
more than half of the 1984 exhibition program. 
The Video Gallery's Agetstein admits to the 
underrepresentation of minority and women ar- 
tists in his exhibition program, but he attributes 
this to a scarcity of nonprofit production fa- 
cilities in the Bay Area. His assessment may not 
be fair, however, since several media centers pro- 
vide low-cost training and equipment. In addi- 
tion to its screening series, VFA has a wide array 
of equipment available at modest rates; the Bay 
Area Video Coalition offers similar services, in- 
cluding workshops, a newsletter, and subsidies 
for some projects. The efforts of these centers 
notwithstanding, access to broadcast quality 
equipment and editing facilities remains pro- 
hibitively expensive for most producers. Unlike 
New York City, the high-end production houses 
in San Francisco have no programs to allow cost- 



conscious independents access to 1 " editing and 
digital effects. However, BAVC currently has 
Va " CMX editing and plans to upgrade to 1 " next 
year. Most of BAVC's subsidized productions, 
however, are not intended for gallery exhibition. 

A growing number of San Francisco artists 
have taken to Vz " home video production. VFA 
keeps current with new Vi " production packages 
and editing systems, available for much lower 
rates than its broadcast gear. This year Martin 
Weber Studio will form a separate non-profit 
media center, Artists Television Access. ATA 
promises to seek out inexperienced, or econom- 
ically disadvantaged artists, providing training 
and access to high-quality Vi " equipment. Part- 
ners Weber and Martin are particularly con- 
cerned with the absence of accessible video tech- 
nology in San Francisco's ethnic, working-class 
neighborhoods. 

The East Bay Media Center, located in down- 
town Berkeley, is another group working on the 
problem of expanding media access. According 
to staffer Andrea Torrice, EBMC (formerly 
named Grassroots Video) was founded in 1979 
as a group of "politically aware video producers 
and community activists." Much of their current 
activity consists of producing videotapes for 
nonprofit organizations like National Action 
Against Rape, Asian Community Mental 
Health, and Bananas, a child-care referral serv- 
ice. They also sponsor monthy video screenings, 
and future programs will include works by 
minority producers and a Vi " video festival. 



Listed below are the various video exhibition 

spaces discussed in this article: 

Video Free America, 442 Shotwell, San Fran- 
cisco, 94110 

Video Gallery, 1250 17th St., San Francisco, 
94107 

Martin Weber Studio, 220 8th St., San Fran- 
cisco, 94103 

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Van 
Ness at McAllister, San Francisco, 94102 

Bay Area Video Coalition, 1111 17th St., San 
Francisco 94107 

East Bay Media Center, 2054 University Ave., 
No. 203, Berkeley, 94704 

The Sixteenth Note, 3160 16th St., San Fran- 
cisco, 94110 

Capp Steet Project, 65 Capp St., San Francisco, 
94110 

New Generic, 2 Clinton Park, San Francisco, 
94103 

New Langton Arts, 1246 Folsom St., San Fran- 
cisco, 94103 

Camerawork, 70 12th St., San Francisco, 94103 

Co- Lab, 1805 Divisadero St., San Francisco, 
94115 

Kanzaki Lounge, 1705 Buchanan St., San Fran- 
cisco, 94115 

Cinematheque, 480 Potrero Ave., San Fran- 
cisco, 941 10 

David Weissman, office manager of the Bay 
Area Video Coalition, is an editor and freelance 
writer living in San Francisco. 



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MARCH 1985 



THE INDEPENDENT 11 



-■LEGAL BRIEFS 



LET'S MAKE 
A DEAL 

Paula R. Schaap 



[Author's note: This article is presented only for the 
purpose of educating the independent filmmaker and is 
not to be taken as legal advice. Television contracts vary 
greatly. The independent filmmaker should, therefore, 
always consult his or her attorney before undertaking 
any course that may have legal ramifications.} 



"I Saw It on the Late Show" may have been a hit 
song some years back, but it is not the tune that 
most independent filmmakers are humming. So 
before Cinema Verite* sets forth to scale the 
towers of television distribution, she must face 
some sobering facts. Unfortunately, when it 
comes to commercial and cable television, Verite 
faces the old Catch-22: she needs a track record, 
but it is hard to get on the track. Public television 
is more accessible to independent producers, but 
its resources are limited. 

Still, there are independent producers who do 
it: either through co-productions with public or 
cable stations, selling footage or associate pro- 
ducing with networks, obtaining Corporation 
for Public Broadcasting grants, or selling com- 
pleted works to PBS. So let's say Verite has 
found an outlet for her creative vision. Now 
she's sitting around with the network bigwigs 
(here the term "network" means commercial, 
cable or public television), and they are asking 
her to sign on the dotted line. The following are 
some aspects of the contract of which she should 
be aware. 

All television networks require that the 
producer clear all rights [see Paula R. Schaap, 
"Media as Property: The Rights Stuff," The In- 
dependent, September 1984]. For documentar- 
ies, that means securing releases. For narrative 
films, it means acquiring the rights to the screen- 
play and the underlying work and making sure 
the appropriate copyrights are registered. All 
filmmakers must be particularly mindful of 
music rights clearances [see Paula R. Schaap, 
"Name That Tune," The Independent, Novem- 
ber 1984]. Charles Samu, manager of intermis- 
sions programming for Home Box Office, said 
the most common problem he encounters is that 

*Readers of past columns may remember one 
Wheeler Dealer, the male counterpart of Cinema 
Verite. I'm happy to report that Wheeler Dealer is on 
staff at a major studio. This means that he no longer 
qualifies as an independent producer, so, until the 
studio changes hands, he won't be with us. 



music rights have not been cleared; the second 
most common problem is filmmakers who have 
adapted a published work and didn't bother to 
secure the rights to it. 

Television contracts always contain warranty 
clauses, which basically say that if rights problems 
arise, the producer will be held liable. It will prob- 
ably be difficult for an independent producer to 
soften the harsh effects of a warranty clause; the 
better course is to make sure that rights have been 
cleared before the project is brought to the negoti- 
ating table. 

Television contracts generally grant the net- 
work an exclusive license to the television rights 
for a set period of time, which can range from one 
to three years. Exclusivity does not generally apply 
to theatrical, non-theatrical, or foreign rights. The 
filmmaker should be careful, however, to scrutin- 
ize the clause that spells out the rights he or she is 
granting to the network. If a contract includes 
such vague terms as "other rights" or "additional 
rights," the filmmaker should ask what they 
mean. If, for example, the terms refer to 
videocassettes or foreign releases, the filmmaker 
must decide whether she wants to retain those 
rights; if she is willing to relinquish them to the 
network, she should realize that such rights could 
be used as bargaining chips to acquire higher fees 
or greater artistic control. If the network is unwill- 
ing to define these terms, these words should be 
removed from the contract. 



Artistic control is an issue that surfaces during 
contract negotiations and it often continues dur- 
ing the making of the film. John Else is a partner 
in Else, Couterie and Corty, a California film 
company that produced Who Are the DeBolts?, 
which was picked up by ABC. He suggests that 
the subject of the film be made part of the con- 
tract, and that it be defined as specifically as 
possible. "Otherwise, you may find that while 
you thought you were doing one film, the net- 
work thought you were doing another." 

The filmmaker may still find that she cannot 
shape the final product because the network al- 
most always retains final cut. Usually, the net- 
work will require check-points during produc- 
tion, and these will be specified in the contract. 
For example, the network will often retain rights 
of approval over selected rushes, rough cuts, and 
fine cuts, as well as the final print. 

There are additional pressures on commercial 
and cable networks and, therefore, on producers 
who work with them. For instance, Else produced 
a film for ABC on the wheat harvest, which he 
conceived as a character study of men who fol- 
low the harvest through America's heartland. By 
the time it was finished, however, the news clim- 
ate had changed. "Suddenly, agricultural news 
and farm foreclosures were front-page news," 
Else said. ABC reshot and reedited the film 
because it wanted a hard-hitting investigative 
report in keeping with current events, rather 




Producer John Else struck a compromise with Home Box Office to reconcile his vision of 
the program "Stepping Out" with that of the network. Couiesy Home Box Office 



12 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1985 



than a human interest story. On the other hand, 
Else pointed out that he worked with ABC on 
two other documentaries, Vietnam Requiem 
and Can 't It Be Anyone Else?, and major artistic 
control was left in his hands. 

HBO and Else also had a different conception 
of Stepping Out, the sequel to Who Are the 
DeBolts?. The filmmakers felt that besides doing 
a sequel on the DeBolts, they wanted to explore 
the phenomenon of families adopting handi- 
capped children. They delivered a rough cut that 
was equally divided between the DeBolts and 
two other families. HBO, however, had expected 
a film which centered on the DeBolts. A com- 
promise was worked out: the final cut included 
the DeBolts and one other family. 

A producer will usually have the greatest con- 
trol when working with public television. "We 
don't tell producers what tack to take," CPB's 
deputy director of programing Gene Katt claims. 
This does not mean, however, that the film- 
maker should ignore public television's distribu- 
tion arm, PBS. For instance, the CPB-funded 
series Matters of Life and Death was rejected by 
PBS; similarly, PBS refused to run Jeff Kreines 
and Joel DeMott's Seventeen, originally slated 
as part of the Middletown series. And Boston's 
public television station, WGBH, retains the 
right of final cut for all productions produced or 
commissioned by Frontline. Furthermore, indi- 
vidual public television stations can refuse to run 
a program offered by PBS. 

The main thing to remember is that the entity 
that puts up the money usually calls the editorial 
shots, with the exception — sometimes — of 
public television. When a commercial or cable 
network funds the film, it will expect to be 
granted a strong role, if not absolute control. In 
addition, commercial and cable television are 
subject to the demands of the marketplace (as, 
increasingly, is public television, which has more 
and more corporate underwriting), which may 
affect a film's subject or, more likely, the treat- 
ment of that subject. 

Despite the obstacles, Verite is determined to 
have her film shown on television and to get a 
contract which, if not perfect, is at least satisfac- 
tory. She can greatly enhance her chances if she 
clears all rights, researches her intended network 
and its audience, and puts together a strong, at- 
tractive package. Who knows, I might even switch 
from Dallas to watch Was Shakespeare a 
Woman?. 

Paula R. Schaap is a writer and entertainment 
lawyer. 



i Paula R. Schaap 1985 

MARCH 1985 



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THE INDEPENDENT 13 





THE 'NEW TELEVISION 



Lucinda Furlong 

The fact is we are interested in television. 
Either in changing it, adapting it, getting 
rich off it, co-opting it, incorporating it, 
selling it, free-basing it or just plain getting 
our work on it; the name of the game is 
T-fucking-V ■ — John Sanborn 

The conventional wisdom about video art these 
days is that artists — having once rejected broad- 
cast television's forms, expensive production 
techniques, and means of distribution — now ac- 
tively seek access to the means to produce 
"broadcast-quality" videotapes, many with the 
hope of having their work aired. Virtually every 
article read, every conference attended, or every 
tape watched reflects the new emphasis on high- 
technology production and high-visibility 
distribution. 

Of course, not all artists are flocking to televi- 
sion, and those who are certainly aren't naive. 
There are still a few cracks in the broadcasting 
monolith, primarily in cable, and, while they 
can, a number of groups, such as the Paper Tiger 
Television collective, have managed to produce 

14 THE INDEPENDENT 




From John Sanborn and Dean Winkler's 
Electric Cat." 



programs on public access channels. Many of 
these programs are notable, both for their 
distinctly low-tech look and, less often, their 
criticism of the television industry. Aside from 
these efforts, however, there is another 
phenomenon currently evident — the "new 
television." Many proponents believe they can 
buy into the industry's system of production and 
distribution without necessarily replicating the 
commercial product. The motives most often 
articulated are the desire for a bigger audience, 
the desire to change television, frustration over 
the art world's refusal to fully embrace video art, 
and, of course, money. But given video's sup- 
posed radical roots in the activist 1960s, it's 
disturbing — if not surprising — that so little at- 
tention has been paid to the implications of such 
a venture. 

The shift in self-definition from video artist to 
television artist hasn't occurred overnight, nor is 
it simply a matter of terminology. A look at how 
this idea of television art is currently being 
discussed reveals some of the inconsistencies and 
contradictions in the enterprise. 



Video art is an elitist interpretation and 
fares better within those support structures 
oriented toward the elitist perspective. . . . 
The term best suited for the creative output 
of artists oriented toward the commercial 
industry is television art. 2 

The testing of popular forms is at the 
forefront of a new generation of artists, 
hereafter referred to as populists, who, 
through the tools of the mass media, will 
carve out an expanded future for art expres- 
sion .... The success of their forms is not 
dependent on the mythology of the art 
market, but solely upon their ability to 
work within the construct of mass media. 3 

These statements by Carl Loeffler, one of several 
propagandists for the "new television," sum- 
marize the basic argument. Loeffler places video 
art and television art at opposite poles, represen- 
ting elitism vs. populism. Video artists belong in 
the museum, while television artists "open their 
work to evaluation by commercial standards of 

MARCH 1985 



Max Almy's "Perfect Leader" is one of a new generation of computer-generated video 
art that is setting technical and aesthetic standards. 



success: technical quality, audience share, and 
sponsorship." 4 

Loeffler isn't alone in his equation of televi- 
sion (by artists) with populism. "Art for the 
masses" has become the shibboleth of many 
video artists. According to John Sanborn, "Art- 
ists have gotten away from being precious about 
their work and are more interested in things like 
art for the masses." 5 And Dara Birnbaum echoes 
this sentiment, although she doesn't say that art- 
ists must meet commercial standards for success: 
"The immediate future lies in the hands of those 
makers who understand how and where high art 
can meet popular practices. As for video work, 
the form and materiality of this medium intrins- 
ically binds it to 'mass media' and as such it must 
reach the masses." 6 

The idea of video art "reaching the masses" 
via television certainly isn't new. At the first 
American Film Institute National Video Festival 
in 1981, Jaime Da vidovitch, founder of the Art- 
ists' Television Network, characterized video art 
of the last 10 years as "boring, self-indulgent, 
esoteric, and fiercely independent." He then 



suggested that the esoteric artists would find a 
good place in product research and development, 
while the new television artists would create new 
programs and develop new audiences. 

While it's true that most art videotapes are in- 
accessible compared to standard TV fare, does it 
necessarily follow that the proposed alternative 
is populist? Such a position fails to acknowledge 
the clearly anti-populist nature of the commer- 
cial broadcasting industry. For, as soon as artists 
begin to buy into broadcast, they are at the mer- 
cy of an ever-changing "broadcast standard." 1 
use this term not in reference to the NTSC signal 
standard, but to what has been dubbed the "eye- 
ball factor" — that elusive state of the art that 
gives polish or gloss to a work. As John Godfrey, 
former supervising engineer at WNET's TV 
Lab, pointed out in a 1983 interview, "There 
never is perfect video": engineers won't "accept 
anything less or equal to the standard of a few 
years before.'" If artists want to make television 
art, they must be able to use the latest — and 
costliest — technology. Does this sound populist? 

There's nothing wrong with technical innova- 



tion in itself. The introduction of the time base 
corrector around 1974 meant that public broad- 
cast stations, which were the only TV outlets for 
artists and independents, could no longer use 
technical inferiority as an excuse not to broad- 
cast their work. However, it's clear that, for 
many, access to high-tech equipment has 
become a high priority and, for some, almost an 
obsession. For instance, three years ago, the 
New York Media Alliance was charged with the 
mandate to, in vice-chair Margot Lewitin's 
words, "explore the relationship between the 
commercial and non-profit sector," and, in so 
doing, "gain access to high-tech video tools." 8 
Largely through the efforts of Robin White, 
Media Alliance director since 1983, the organiza- 
tion has succeeded in getting artists substantially 
reduced rates at two commercial production 
houses in New York City and one in Rochester. 
There are obvious benefits to artists based in 
those areas, particularly in light of the closings of 
both the TV Lab at WNET this year, and the Art- 
tists' TV Workshop at WXXI, in Rochester, in 
1981.' 



MARCH 1985 



THE INDEPENDENT 15 




Avant-garde tapes like Robert Ashley's 
"Perfect Lives" bank on the language of 
television to speak to a mass audience. 



But emphasis on high-tech production and 
commercial distribution — as evidenced, for ex- 
ample, by the weight given these topics in the 
Media Alliance's activities 10 — exerts enormous 
pressure on artists because technical innovation 
has become equated with being "avant garde." 
If you don't use a Quantel, ADO (Ampex Digi- 
tal Optics), DVE (Digital Video Effects), or 
CMX for editing, then you're obviously not on 
the cutting edge, technically or aesthetically. 
Referring to the difficulty he'd encountered in 
the late 1970s getting his work shown, Shalom 
Gorewitz acknowledged at the Media Alliance's 
annual meeting that "as soon as I could use a 1 " 
studio to put that 'gloss' on my tape, my work 
was accepted." 

The idea has taken hold that one can no longer 
make a "good tape" without using certain 
broadcast flourishes — computer editing, slow 
motion, digital effects, etc. — that have come to 
represent state-of-the-art video. Indeed, if one 
looks at works since 1979, one can find a virtual 
catalogue of computer editing techniques and ef- 
fects in, for instance, Juan Downey's Looking 
Glass, Edin Velez's Meta Mayan, Dara Birn- 
baum's Pop Pop Video series, Kit Fitzgerald and 
John Sanborn's Tribute to Nam June Paik and 
other tapes, Bill Viola's Hatsu Yume, Dan 
Reeves's Smothering Dreams, Max Almy's Leav- 
ing the Twentieth Century and Perfect Leader, 
and Robert Ashley's Perfect Lives. These works 
are setting the technical and aesthetic standards 
against which other tapes will be judged. 

One need only look back a little further into 
video's history for clues to what's looking more 
and more like an ever-spiraling consumerism. 
Not too long ago, plenty of people made in- 
teresting and challenging tapes using black and 
white equipment. (They weren't all "boring" 
and "esoteric") After one-tube color cameras 
became the norm, suddenly three-tube color 



cameras loomed on the horizon. Fitzgerald and 
Sanborn were the first U.S. video artists to buy a 
three-tube camera, an investment Fitzgerald once 
compared to buying a house. Now many artists 
won't consider using anything but a three-tube. 
The cost differential between the two types of 
cameras is still high, despite the fact that prices 
have come down and technology improved. For 
instance, currently one-tube cameras range from 
roughly $800 to $3,000, while three-tubes are be- 
tween $3,000 and $45,000. Most top-of-the-line 
portable broadcast cameras cost over $25,000. 

A similar situation occurred with editing and 
"special effects." Initially, no one could edit, 
and real-time was touted as a challenge to the 
manipulative quality of TV's compressed time. 
Edit capabilities gradually improved throughout 
the 1970s, and then computer editing with its 
quick, precise cut became the hot technology. It 
was also very pricey. The only people who used 
specialized electronic devices in the early 1970s 
were those in the "image processing" camp, and 
they were interested in getting access to low-cost 
high tech. This often meant designing and 
building the equipment themselves; but it also 
meant full control over a means of production 
that remained outside the pressures of the broad- 
cast sector. 

The use of high-tech production equipment 
has several implications, the most obvious the 
question of who can afford to pay for access. 
Since virtually all video art is publicly-fund- 
ed — through the National Endowment for the 
Arts and state arts councils — what kinds of 
funding patterns will emerge? Will larger grants 
for big-budget works mean that fewer grants will 
be awarded? Will this make it more difficult for 
younger video artists or those whose work isn't 
as slick? 

Returning to the idea of populism — this time 
in reference to works specifically produced for 
television — the question remains whether artists 
can reconcile their intentions with the demands 
of television. Many people apparently think that 
by adopting the so-called "language" of televi- 
sion, they can produce works that are at once 
avant garde and accessible to a larger audience. 
But merely cloaking what is often called "dense" 
subject matter — Ashley's Perfect Lives comes to 
mind — with squeeze-zooms, split screens, and a 
host of other effects does not necessarily make 
the work any more accessible. 

The next step is to produce tapes that are vir- 
tually indistinguishable from television. Sanborn 
and Dean Winkler's Act III and Big Electric Cat 
both adopt the conventions of music videos and 
advertising spots, not to subvert the industry, but 
to embrace it. In fact, according to Winkler, Act 
III, which was produced at Teletronics, the pro- 



duction house where he works, is now used as a 
sales demo tape. The 300 hours required for 
production were, as he put it, "sort of written off 
as R & D."" How can these tapes possibly 
change television, a goal most "television 
artists" ostensibly share? 

One can't help but wonder whether their ef- 
forts shouldn't also be directed toward more 
political goals — e.g., lobbying local cable com- 
panies and government officials. These kinds of 
activities might begin to make a dent in what is a 
most undemocratic and unpopulist television in- 
dustry. Finally, one must ask, "Who is really 
changing television, getting rich off it, incor- 
porating it, selling it, free-basing it, or getting 
their work on it? And who is co-opting whom? 
What is the name of the game?" 

NOTES 

1. Quoted in Carl Loeffler, "Video as Popular 
Art in the Eighties," The Second Link: View- 
points on Video in the Eighties, (Banff, Canada: 
Walter Phillips Gallery, 1983), p. 16. 

2. Loeffler, "Toward a Criticism of Television Art," 
Art Com, Vol 6, No. 2, p. 43. 

3. Loeffler, "Video as Popular Art in the Eighties," 
op. cit. 

4. Greg McKenna, "Producing Post-Video Art 
Video," Art Com, No. 19, p. 25. 

5. Quoted in Marita Sturken, "Video Art and the 
TV Revolution," Boston Review, Vol. 9, No. 3 
(June 1984), p. 10. 

6. Quoted in Loeffler, "Video as Popular Art in the 
Eighties," op. cit., p. 14. 

7. Quoted in Skip Blumberg, "Irterview with John 
Godfrey," The Independent, Vol. 6, No. 5 (June 
1983), p. 14. 

8. Opening remarks at the Media Alliance annual 
conference. New York City, October 1984. 

9. These closings resulted from the withdrawal of 
NYSCA funds, due to numerous problems, 
among them, retention of rights, difficulty get- 
ting tapes released to have dubs struck, and in 
WNET's case, the station's failure to match 
NYSCA grants. 

10. The theme of the Media Alliance meeting last Oc- 
tober was "The Alternative Media Community: 
Access to Audiences and Technology in the 
1980s." Of the two panels, one focused on 
various distribution outlets, like HBO and home 
video stores. The other dealt with "technology" 
and aesthetics." This has been the organization's 
orientation for at least the last two years; see 
"New York Media Group Spins Its Reels in 
Rochester," by Martha Gever, Afterimage, Vol. 
11, Nos. 1&2 (Summer 1983), p. 3. 

1 1 . Quoted in Diane Kolyer, "Video Art Goes State 
of the Art," Videography, Vol. 9, No. 10 (Oc- 
tober, 1984), p. 39. 

Lucinda Furlong is curatorial assistant in the 
Film and Video Department at the Whitney Mu- 
seum of American Art. 

'- Lucinda Furlong 1985 



16 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1985 



PICTURE 
THIS 

Storyboards 
For 
Film 
and 

Video 



Jay Padroff 



Scott B, a 

proponent of 

storyboarding, 

used these 

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"The Specialist," 

a Super-8 film 

produced 

for a 

Nicaraguan 

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last winter. 

Courtesy Artist 



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With the advent of music videos, visual elegance 
has rightly become an issue once again for selling 
a feature film. The recent re-release of Hitch- 
cock's films from the 1950s (even in those mud- 
dy prints Universal has churned out) reminded 
American audiences of how beautiful and visual 
films used to be. The slapdash quality accepted 
in many features of the seventies seems to have 
run its course, and the care and precision of plan- 
ning silent era films has returned as a model for 
many filmmakers today. 

Accordingly, storyboarding is also an issue for 
directors and cinematographers. Yossi Segal, a 
professional East Coast storyboard artist, pro- 
vides a handy definition of storyboarding: "It's 
thinking in advance of the composition of each 
shot and scene, and not yielding to the pressures 
of the set, where time is expensive and you tend 
to compromise because you can't think things 
over enough. Working in advance, you can con- 



M ARCH 1985 



template and really design your picture." 

Storyboarding should imply a preconceived 
shot length and cutting rhythm, recognizing that 
scenes need to be paced. In Vertigo, Hitchcock 
had Kim Novak walk across the room to the beat 
of a metronome, and that's part of the idea — 
recognizing cinema's link to music as perhaps 
stronger than its bond to the graphic arts or the 
written word. Columbia University film profes- 
sor Stefan Sharff s notations resemble musical 
notation. He has Ph.D. students experiment 
with deriving a new notation for the film director 
to use. Composition and framing, number of sub- 
jects in the shot, size of image, perceived camera 
distance from the subject, camera movement, 
lighting, and movement within the frame are all 
taken into account as well as rhythms (cutting 
and internal), pacing, and repetition of image. 
Sharff, who in his younger days worked close- 
ly with Eisenstein, believes there is a correct syn- 

THE INDEPENDENT 17 



tax or grammar which operates in the film me- 
dium. For example, in an interview with 
Salvador Rosillo in the early seventies, Sharff 
stated, "Patton was an interesting film [for] the 
use of separation, low angles, bigger-than-life 
pictures and the use of a fantastic theoretical 
device called familiar image. ... It was a power- 
ful film in that sense." 

However, there is a wide range of opinion 
among directors regarding storyboarding; some 
see it as a necessary art or useful tool, while 
others view it as a stifler of the director's cre- 
ativity, the cinematographer's freedom or the ac- 
tors' emotions. Thus, Wim Wenders drew ap- 
plause at his Paris, Texas press conference at the 
1984 New York Film Festival for remarking, 
"I'm absolutely horrified by storyboards." 
Wenders seems proud that he has outgrown 
storyboards. "In the beginning, with my first 
[German] films, whenever I came to the set I had 
drawings," he said. He added, " Hammer t was 
thoroughly storyboarded, [but] that was the last 
time. For Paris, Texas I tried not to have any no- 
tion whatsoever until we got on the set. We tried 
to first work on the scene with the actors, and 
then [director of cinematography] Robby 
[Muller] and I would decide on the shots." 

At the other extreme, Joel Coen, whose hor- 
ror flick Blood Simple was a surprise hit of the 
festival, said, "We storyboarded the entire 
movie because we had specific ideas to convey in 
each scene and were under a relatively tight, 
40-day shooting schedule." His brother, pro- 
ducer and co-writer Ethan Coen added, "We're 
working on a comedy now, and that will be 
storyboarded too." From a more theoretical 
standpoint, direct or/cinematographer Michael 
Oblowitz (King Blank, Carly Simon music 
videos) says, "Eisenstein was an engineer, and I 
like the engineering side to making movies. I 
always do a drawing beforehand for whatever 
I'm going to shoot." 

Sidney Lumet (Prince of the City, Garbo 
Talks), who is known as an "actor's director," 
says he never storyboards. "I've never done it in 
my life. I don't see what it's got to offer, except if 
you don't want to get out there and look through 
the camera." But independent director Victor 
Nunez disagrees: "The very opening scene of A 
Flash of Green was accomplished only because it 
was storyboarded. We had shot the entire day, 
and we were told there was an impending storm. 
We raced back to the location. We literally had 
30 minutes to shoot, and it was only because I 
knew every shot that I was able to get those open- 
ing shots. And it's cut exactly as it was 
storyboarded." Nunez adds, "Sometimes [my 
storyboard] will be little more than a thumbnail 
sketch or outline. If a scene is evolving because 



DESPERATELY SEEKING SUSAN 
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Comments : 



Susan Seidelman selectively storyboarded 
Susan." 

of the actors' rehearsing, I would re-storyboard. 
I would not bind them to my perception if it was a 
very interactive scene. On the other hand, if it was 
a visual montage scene, I would tend to stick more 
closely with my original concept." 

Director Susan Seidelman storyboards selec- 
tively. Her approach has been much the same in 
her $100,000 independent feature Smithereens as 
in her current $5-million studio picture, Des- 
perately Seeking Susan. "We storyboarded 
Smithereens a bit, but I tend not to stick to those 
things. It's best for me just as a guide. Often I'll 
plan 10 shots, and [then] on the set realize I only 
need five of them. We're storyboarding parts of 
Desperately Seeking Susan — like the chase se- 
quence through the back halls of a nightclub." 

Some filmmakers have found storyboarding 



specltic scenes for "Desperately Seeking 

Courtesy Filmmaker 

useful when making the transition from one 
format to another. Frank and Caroline Mouris, 
whose animated short Frank Film won an Oscar, 
moved to live-action drama with their American 
Film Institute short And Then (1978) and their 
recent, first feature, Hot Talk. "We had to 
storyboard at least 75 percent of Hot Talk. We 
were storyboarding all the time we were raising 
money and doing preproduction, and it certainly 
saved us a lot of money, although we still threw 
away a good five scenes. People tell us Hot Talk 
looks a lot more expensive than the $285,000 it 
cost. Storyboarding also helped us criticize 
scenes that were just 'talking heads,' so we made 
those changes before shooting." 

Similarly, Scott and Beth B began their feature 
filmmaking in Super-8, where, as Scott B says, 



18 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1985 



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"Editing was more in the blocking, and cuts 
weren't so important." Working separately 
now, sometimes in 35mm, Scott B has become a 
firm believer in storyboards. "It helps me com- 
press time and story elements, to know where to 
place things in the frame for a smooth or a jar- 
ring cut, and to make statements about the 
material and a character's state of mind in ad- 
vance. Before, my focus had been primarily on 
the situation. After Vortex, I was feeling 
dissatisfied. I wanted to use film grammar in a 
more explicit way. I storyboarded The Specialist, 
a Super-8 film for a Nicaraguan benefit last 
winter. Since then, I've completely storyboarded 
one feature, Play land, and I'm going to 
storyboard my next feature, Double Date, which 
I'll be shooting in the spring. I'm currently 



storyboarding a short drama about a Lower East 
Side tenement landlord." 

Beth B, meanwhile, has moved into the music 
video arena. Working for producer Philip 
Meese, she directed Dominatrix's The Dom- 
inatrix Sleeps Tonight and then Joan Jett's / 
Need Someone. Meese says, "For The 
Dominatrix there was no storyboard, but I 
wanted the next one storyboarded because the 
Joan Jett management kept making changes, 
and our script wasn't formulated. So illustrator 
Alan Zdinack took photographs of the actual 
location, the old Seaview Hospital on Stat en 
Island, and drew the storyboard based on that." 

Meese also produced The Restless's / Want To 
Know, which Susan Seidelman directed. "Susan 
had scripted it very carefully. She worked out the 



details of the cutting ahead of time, and it never 
occurred to me that we needed a storyboard." 
Of Southside Johnny's New Romeo, directed by 
Adam Freedman, Meese says, "Alan Zdinack's 
storyboard was an incredible aid. We were able 
to shoot it in 15 hours at the Hard Rock Cafe." 

Zdinack is a second generation illustrator. 
"My father has done storyboards and animatics 
for Madison Avenue for 30 years." He enjoys il- 
lustrating music videos. "It's a burst of energy. 
I'll sit down with the director and script super- 
visor for a day and organize the shots, then go 
home and draw the boards. That's my input — 
refining framing, and keeping a continuity and 
flow from frame to frame. I try to keep the art- 
work simple and show a sense of depth. I see my 
style as being as simple as possible." 

Rock video producer Ken Walz (Girls Just 
Wanna Have Fun) pointedly avoids storyboards 
whenever possible. "I was in advertising, and the 
way they're used in the industry tends to really 
lock you in. They're valuable as guides, but 
represent to me a very buttoned-up world with 
no room to experiment or go with what's hap- 
pening at the moment . One of the benefits of do- 
ing music videos is having flexibility." 

Nevertheless, when working with director 
Michael Oblowitz on Janey Street's Under the 
Clock, Walz acceded to Oblowitz's working 
methods — taking Polaroids of the location and 
drawing his own storyboards down to the last 
detail. "I don't want to spend a half-hour on my 
set working out where my lights are supposed to 
be," says Oblowitz. "Time is money. I can draw 
in the light on my storyboards. Then I sit down 
with my gaffer, and we work out all our posi- 
tions. On the set, we do it exactly like that piece 
of paper." 

Independent filmmakers Paul Wolansky and 
Michael Shmulevich agree. They even had story- 
boards for their recent feature Just Married 
drawn in color by their art director, Michael 
Fishgoyt. "Color is very important," says 
Shmulevich, "because it creates the mood of the 
scene." Wolansky adds, "[Director of cine- 
matography] Gregory [Sigalov] was involved 
when storyboarding was done, so pre-lighting 
was taken into account. Copies [of the story- 
boards] were distributed to the script supervisor, 
the art department, props, wardrobe, and 
camera department. The only people we didn't 
want to see them were the actors." 

Kenneth Anger, whose 1963 avant-garde short 
Scorpio Rising which, with its sharp cuts, TV 
footage and use of pop songs portended the 
music video craze, has always prepared his films 
by doing "little thumbnail sketches. They're all 
in the collection of the Cinematheque Francaise." 
In the late 1940s, Anger tried to raise money for 



MARCH 1985 



THE INDEPENDENT 19 




Alan Zdinack, the son of a storyboard illustrator, drew the story boards for 
Philip Meese's music video "New Romeo." 



Coutesy Filmmaker 



an intended feature called Puce Women with a 
very lavish storyboard. "I had Paul Mathi- 
son — a children's fairy tale illustrator — create a 
professionally-drawn, vertical accordion-fold 
presentation book from my sketches to get 
Hollywood an collector millionaires like Arthur 
Freed and Albert Lewin to invest in it, which 
they didn't. I've never forgiven Hollywood for 
that, and I wound up moving to Paris." That's 
where Anger eventually published Hollywood 
Babylon, a different kind of picture book, and 
so managed to accrue an indirect triumph for the 
ever-struggling American independent film 
movement. 



There are several useful books on storyboards, 
structure, and cinematic syntax. In The 
Elements of Cinema (Columbia University 
Press, 1982), Stefan Sharff uses the shot-by-shot 
analysis method to isolate basic models of struc- 
ture, which include separation ("fragmentation 
of a scene into single images in alternation ... A 
conversation may be filmed with one person 
looking right in medium shot and the other look- 
ing left in close-up [to] bring people in closer 
relation than if they were in the same shot"), 
parallel action ("two or more narrative lines run- 
ning simultaneously and presented by alterna- 



tion between scenes. . .Using parallel action, a 
filmmaker can extend or condense real time and 
create a screen time with a logic of its own"), 
familiar image ("a graphically strong shot that 
repeats itself with little change during a film. The 
repetition has a subliminal effect, creating. . .a 
stabilizing bridge to the action and accrues 
meaning as the film progresses"), and slow dis- 
closure ("the gradual introduction of pictorial 
information within a single shot"). It's a 
thought-provoking text on an area which has 
been largely unexplored, but it remains no sub- 
stitute for Sharff s course itself which, as far as I 
know, has no equivalent at any other American 
film school. 

Slow disclosure adds immeasurably to cinema's 
capacity for suspense, wit, and elegance. The so- 
called "Lubitsch touch" was in part derived 
from this technique — used narratively as well as 
visually — and along these lines I recommend 
Three Screen Comedies by Samson Raphaelson 
(University of Wisconsin Press, 1983), which 
contains production scripts for the Lubitsch- 
Raphaelson collaborations Trouble in Paradise, 
The Shop Around the Corner, and Heaven Can 
Wait. Although there isn't a frame blow-up or a 
thumbnail sketch in the entire volume, the book 
and the films themselves articulate a lot about 
what, besides Eisenstein and Hitchcock, Sharff 
admires in cinema. 



Then there's Herbert Zettl's superb study of 
applied media aesthetics, Sight Sound Motion 
(Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1973). This 
work expounds on balance and imbalance, 
framing, color depth, and volume — all in terms 
of human psychology. Zettl's ample discussions 
of vectors and the z-axis (which structure three- 
dimensionality) are particularly useful. 

The Cinema as a Graphic Art (Hill and Wang) 
by Vladimir Nilsen, one of Eisenstein's last 
cinematographers, is probably the best text on 
structuring short compositions. Cinematog- 
rapher Edward Lachman (Desperately Seeking 
Susan) agrees, finding it "deplorable" that the 
book has gone out of print. "I called the publish- 
er to get it reprinted," he says, but for the time 
being this treasure trove is extremely hard to 
find. 

Lachman's own camerawork is on display in 
two important volumes of interest to every 
potential film grammarian. In Chris Marker's 
classic short La Jetee, filmed black-and-white 
still photographs are accompanied by a conven- 
tional motion picture soundtrack to tell a story; 
with Chausse-Trappe (Editions de Minuit, 
1981), Lachman consciously goes one step fur- 
ther — he never shot the motion picture. Adapted 
from an original, film noir feature screenplay by 
Elieba Levine, Chausse- Trappe ("entrapped") is 
like a huge storyboard or a French roman-photo 
comprised of black-and-white still photographs 
Lachman took of his actors on location. It's a 
motion picture shot with a still camera accom- 
panied by dialogue in hand-drawn characters. 
Utilizing sequential images, it serves to clearly 
demonstrate visual grammar. 

So does Nick's Film/ Lightning Over Water 
(Zweitausendeins, 1981) by Wim Wenders and 
Charles Sievernich, comprised of shot-by-shot 
color reprints from Nicholas Ray and Wim 
Wenders's experimental docudrama, Lightning 
Over Water. The cinematographer is again 
Lachman, and this book is easily available 
through Blue Angel, Inc., in Charlottesville, 
Virginia. There are, of course, many other books 
which attempt shot-by-shot reproductions (with 
varying success) of certain classic films, ranging 
from Potemkin to Psycho to A Hard Day's 
Night. 

Finally, I strongly endorse two books pertain- 
ing to Eisenstein: Vladimir Nizhny's Lessons with 
Eisenstein (Da Capo Press, 1979) and Eisenstein 
at Work by Jay Leyda and Zina Voynow (Pan- 
theon Books/The Museum of Modem Art, 1982). 
Jay Padroff is a screenwritter/ playwright /film- 
maker based in Los Angeles. His play, Crime 
Story, will premiere in May at the Theater for the 
New City in New York City. 

© Jay Padroff 1985 



20 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1985 



BOOK REVIEWSI 



SOLIDARITY 
FOR A WHILE 

Cinema Strikes Back: Radical Filmmaking in the 
United States, 1930-1942 

by Russell Campbell 

Ann Arbor, MI: UMI Research Press, 1982, 

387pp. 

A little over a decade ago, the radical film move- 
ment of the thirties was rescued from the ar- 
chives and rediscovered by a new generation 
committed to the possibility of a political 
cinema. Thanks to film studies, that academic 
growth industry of the seventies, the story of the 
radical film movement's main architects and or- 
ganizations — the (Workers') Film and Photo 
League, Nykino, and Frontier Films — has now 
been told in journal articles, published inter- 
views, and book-length studies. 

Unfortunately, one of the more recent contri- 
butions to this literature, Russell Campbell's 
Cinema Strikes Back, has aroused little critical 
attention, perhaps because it appeared so quick- 
ly on the heels of another book that covers much 
of the same turf, William Alexander's Film on 
the Left (Princeton University Press, 1981). 
Despite the similarity in subject matter, however, 
Campbell has a very different story to tell. While 
Alexander confesses that his research was in- 
pired by a personal quest for political role 
models, and consequently writes a group por- 
trait which reduces conflicting politics to con- 
flicting personalities, Campbell's history places 
the filmmakers on the broader stage of political 
history and attempts a comprehensive account 
of their institutional alliances, cultural in- 
fluences, and evolving aesthetic. 

The radical film movement's origins trace 
back to the 1930 formation of the Workers' Film 
and Photo League ("Workers'" was dropped 
from the name in 1933) under the auspices of the 
United States arm of the World International 
Relief (WIR), sponsored by the Communist In- 
ternational. Headquartered in Germany, the 
WIR developed during the twenties beyond its 
famine relief work in the Soviet Union to 
become a catalyst of cultural activity ranging 
from the publication of workers' dailies to the 
distribution of Soviet films. Following this lead, 
the U.S. WIR provided institutional support for 
theater, dance, singing groups, and, ultimately, 
the Film and Photo League (FPL) production 
collective. The WIR-supplied loft where the 
group gathered attracted a motley collection of 
jobless college graduates, curious photogra- 
phers, left-leaning intellectuals, and working 



class radicals enthusiastic about the possibilities 
of leftist film and photography. They were 
motivated both by the negative image (or the 
total absence) of the working class movement in 
conventional newsreels, and the positive exam- 
ple of Soviet documentaries, the anti-cinema of 
Hollywood. 

The group's initial ambitions to create an 
American documentary movement on the level 
achieved by the Soviets were not only thwarted 
by limited resources and inexperience, but over- 
ruled by the sense of urgency palpable in every- 
day events. "Very often," remembered Leo 
Seltzer, who was responsible for a large portion 
of the FPL's footage, "there'd be a group of 
four or five guys sitting there, the theoreticians, 
sitting talking, philosophizing. .. .And then 
someone would say, 'Hey, something's happen- 
ing! Call Seltzer! ' And I'd take the Eyemo under 
my arm and go out and shoot." 

As the man with the movie camera, Seltzer 
embodied the ethos of the FPL in this early 
period. The League's filmmakers could be 
found on picket lines and in the midst of demon- 
strations, where the documentors risked con- 
frontations with sheriffs' rifles and round-ups in 
paddy wagons. The resulting films — such as 
Bonus March, Hunger 1932, and America 
Today — were quickly released to audiences in 
union halls, workers' clubs, and, in one case that 
Seltzer recalled, at the scene of a strike itself, 
where blacklisted miners were cheered by the 
cinematic witness to their struggle flickering on a 



white sheet stretched between two trees. 

The contemporary leftist press, which chron- 
icled the work of the FPL, vacillated between 
promotion and encouragement of the League's 
work and chiding acknowledgement that its 
haphazardly produced newsreels only scratched 
the surface of cinema's revolutionary possibili- 
ties, which stretched beyond documentary to in- 
clude satire, comedy, and drama. Within the 
League, several of the "theorists" — Ralph 
Steiner, Irving Lerner, Leo Hurwitz — were also 
feeling increasingly constricted by the FPL's ex- 
clusive focus on cinematic journalism, derided 
by Hurwitz as an endless "parade of marching, 
marching, marching." The three hoped to in- 
volve the FPL in more ambitious films that, 
Hurwitz argued, would not "assume the revolu- 
tionary approach," but rather "convince the 
spectator of its correctness." Such films required 
full-time professionals free to explore cinematic 
art, organized into a "shock troupe" dedicated 
to collective filmmaking. When, in 1934, the 
New York FPL executive committee rejected the 
plan as "elitist," Hurwitz, Steiner, and Lerner 
broke with the League to form their own group, 
Nykino. 

According to Campbell, the executive com- 
mittee's label of the threesome as elitist was 
essentially on target. But it was through Nykino, 
not the FPL, that the leftist documentary move- 
ment survived. The defection of the "Hurwitz 
faction" robbed the League of both experience 
and direction, and the ranks were further deplet- 




The Depression-era Workers Newsreels, produced by the Film and Photo League, are 
part of a long tradition of radical filmmaking in America. Photo leoSeitzer 



MARCH 1985 



THE INDEPENDENT 21 



ed by the departure of Tom Brandon, the mas- 
termind of the FPL's distribution. At the same 
time, the groups to which the FPL distributed its 
films began to disappear. Tied financially and 
administratively to the international network of 
the Communist Party, few of the workers' 
organizations survived the defeat of the German 
Communist Party and Moscow's adoption of 
the Popular Front strategy in 1933-34. Eventual- 
ly the marching died away as the New Deal sap- 
ped radicals' emotional momentum and absorb- 
ed some of its talent (Seltzer, for instance, went 
to work for the Work Projects Administration). 
By the end of 1935, the FPL was dead in all but 
name. As Hurwitz, Lerner, and Steiner moved 
forward, propelled by artistic ambition, the 
workers' culture movement from which they 
emerged collapsed behind them. 

The FPL had traditionally been involved in a 
broad spectrum of cultural activism. In addition 
to making films, it organized protests (ranging 
from demonstrations to stink bomb attacks) 
against screenings of fascist films, exhibited and 
distributed Soviet movies, and ran a filmmaking 
school. In contrast, the Nykino group saw them- 
selves exclusively as filmmakers; they made their 
alliances, consequently, not with other workers' 
organizations, but with fellow culture makers on 
the left. Photographers Paul Strand, Willard 
Van Dyke, and, for a time, Henri Cartier- 
Bresson were among those who joined the FPL 
defectors in their new venture. Close ties with the 
Workers' Laboratory Theatre (another WIR- 
linked organization that provided the institu- 
tional model for the Nykino "shock troupe") 
and the Group Theater offered inspiration for 
the group's evolving ideas on "enacted 
documentary." 

The financial means available to Nykino, 
however, were insufficient to allow its members 
to do full-time film work. Their full profes- 
sionalization became possible only when 
Nykino, in a burst of publicity, reorganized as 
the non-profit Frontier Films, Inc. in March 
1937. By this time, the milieu in which the 
Nykino members lived and worked had broken 
through to creative and social legitimacy. The 
new cachet of the cultural left rubbed off on the 
newly-formed group, attracting to its doorstep 
New York Times reporters and an advisory 
board of left-wing celebrities such as Clifford 
Odets, Malcolm Cowley, Aaron Copland, Lil- 
lian Hellman, and Archibald MacLeish. Well- 
to-do sympathizers and a few foundations con- 
tributed grants and guaranteed loans, which 
provided only the bare means of support yet 
made it possible for the Frontier filmmakers to 
accomplish what the more loosely organ- 
ized — and more radically conceived — Nykino 
could not: the production of a sizable body of 
completed films of high technical quality, which 
reached an audience of thousands. Yet, Camp- 
bell argues, the freedom to make art which the 
Frontier organization provided at the same time 



dulled its members' political instincts. 

During the FPL period, the filmmakers, their 
subjects, and their audiences all belonged to the 
same, seamless radical network. It was precisely 
these links that were broken when Hurwitz and 
company left the League. By professionalizing, 
the Frontier group were inevitably removed from 
their subjects, a condition symbolized by the fate 
of their first planned project, a film on child labor: 
the script called for children working in a laundry, 
but the filmmakers couldn't find any. 

On the other hand, by choosing to make po- 
litical films designed to "convince" viewers 
rather than in solidarity with them, the pro- 
ducers became equally removed from their au- 
dience, whose sympathetic attention they now 
sought from a distance. Thus, in Frontier's three 
documentaries on contemporary anti-fascist and 
anti-imperialist battles abroad — Heart of Spain, 
Return to Life, and China Strikes Back — no one 
is identified as a Communist, including, Camp- 
bell wTyiy notes, Mao Tse-Tung. Instead, the 
struggles were cast as good guys-bad guys con- 
frontations, which would hopefully be palatable 
to a wide audience. Similarly, Frontier's 
docudrama Native Land so thoroughly saturat- 
ed its labor spy theme with the visual symbolism 
of mainstream America as to be rendered polit- 
ically innocuous. In aesthetic terms, the drive to 
create audience "appeal" led to a greater reliance 
on invented narratives, sympathetically drawn 
characters with whom viewers could identify, the 
use of professional actors, and sonorous, 
rhetorical voiceovers — all the documentary con- 
ventions that, 25 years later, the advocates of 
cinema verite would seek to overthrow. 

Campbell's final judgment on the radical film 
movement, however, is less concerned with 
aesthetics than politics. Frontier's drift into ac- 
commodation with the New Deal was by no 
means unique. Other cultural organizations with 
radical roots, such as the John Reed Clubs and 
the Workers' Laboratory Theatre, also moved 
from proletarian militance to middle-class 
respectability. In softening the social analysis of 
their later documentaries, Frontier was only 
echoing the larger, Party-dictated stategy of the 
Popular Front, which rejected militancy in favor 
of seeking alliances with other "progressive" 
forces in society against the common enemy of 
fascism. This approach made possible greater 
visibility for Frontier's films, but it's precisely 
these moves into the mainstream that Campbell 
ultimately indicts. Like so many of the left's 
histories of itself, Cinema Strikes Back is a 
history of "mistakes," a familiar tale of co- 
optation in which the ghost of the Revolution 
That Might Have Been mocks the wrong turns of 
a movement that failed. 

Yet precisely because co-optation is a familiar 
tale, one wishes for a less familiar, less orthodox 
alternative than the one Campbell provides: 
more militancy, more class analysis, more ex- 
plicit articulation of revolutionary goals. In his 



own way, Campbell believes in heroes — individ- 
uals who stand fast, unmoved by the cultural 
tide — as much as Alexander does. Campbell 
writes: 

The greatest danger [to radical initiatives] 
lies at the point at which government and 
business begin to make concessions: here 
there is the temptation for militants, in their 
anxiety to foster the move and protect the 
gains which have been made, to cease their 
articulation of revolutionary goals — par- 
ticularly when they themselves, former out- 
siders, enjoy a taste of power. 

But culture is not made by heroic individuals; 
it is the result of a collaboration between subjects 
and their historical conditions. Campbell asserts 
that in the last analysis, the technically crude 
newsreels of the Film and Photo League were 
more successfully subversive than Frontier's 
more polished productions. But to what can we 
credit that subversive edge? To the filmmakers' 
consciousness, to the activities they chronicled, 
or to the political uses to which the films were 
put? The answer would seem to be all three. 
Could filmmakers maintain that radical bite by 
steadfastness of will alone, in the absence of the 
other two conditions? Apparently not: the FPL 
and the proletarian cultural groups that sup- 
ported it were through by the middle of the 
1930s. 

Because Campbell relies on the methodology 
of "mistakes" and its analytical cousin, the 
search for the "correct line," his conclusion 
misses one of the most interesting issue his book 
raises: ambition. The admixture of personal, 
political, and artistic ambitions which drove the 
Frontier group may well be a political problem, 
but it could hardly be termed a mistake. Ambi- 
tion is rather a condition of cultural production: 
nobody wants to make films that no one will see. 
The respectability the Frontier filmmakers 
cultivated and the liberal rhetoric they adopted 
were bargains they struck with their times in their 
attempt to make leftist films a visible force in 
their culture. 

Would the Nykino-Frontier filmmakers have 
been more "correct" to abandon their publicist 
role and, instead, concentrate on sharpening their 
radical critique before the increasingly shrinking 
audience which shared their assumptions? Did 
the material means exist to accomplish that? Is 
that strategy merely a formula for a different 
brand of elitism, on one hand, and for margin- 
ality on the other? Answers are speculative, but 
Campbell's narrative makes clear that these were 
questions this group of filmmakers never asked. 
They were oblivious to the paradox that all 
cultural producers — particularly politically in- 
spired ones — struggle for visibility, and, in 
achieving this, transform the conditions under 
which their work is received and understood. 
That paradox undercut the artistic and political 
sincerity of such earnest projects as Native Land. 



22 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1985 



The equally sincere, hard-line corrective which 
Campbell prescribes openly ignores this 
paradox, but cannot overcome it. Until radical 
artists come to terms with the contradiction in- 
herent in all cultural products, all histories of 
radical art, like that of the thirties film move- 
ment, will be a history of mistakes. 

— Debra Goldman 



THE 30-SECOND 
CAMPAIGN 

The Spot: The Rise of Political Advertising on 
Television 

by Edwin Diamond and Stephen Bates 
Cambridge: MIT Press, 1984, 416 pp., $17.50 

In an effort to deflect the critical barbs which 
continuously rain down on political television 
commercials, media consultant John Dear- 
dourff wrote an ad script demonstrating how 
much information can in fact be communicated 
in a 30-second script: 

I believe that the question of abortion is 
one that ought to be reserved exclusively 
to a woman and her doctor. I favor giv- 
ing women the unfettered right to abor- 
tion. I also favor the federal funding of 
abortion through Medicaid for poor 
women as an extension of the right to an 
abortion, and I oppose any statutory or 
constitutional limitations on that right. 

Deardourff s point in this exercise runs against 
the grain of conventional wisdom, and gets its 
due notice in The Spot: The Rise of Political 
Advertising on Television, by Edwin Diamond 
and Stephen Bates. In this useful and lucid 
book, the brevity argument against political ad- 
vertising — i.e. that the short political com- 
merical is to blame for issueless campaigns — is 
one of the many suppositions that Diamond and 
Bates examine and find wanting. 

Diamond has a history of pricking inflated 
claims regarding the relation of television and 
politics made by cheerleaders and doomsayers 
alike. As head of the Massachusetts Institute of 
Technology's News Study Group in the Depart- 
ment of Political Science, which since 1972 has 
conducted research on politics and press proces- 
ses, Diamond has challenged nebulous assump- 
tions about media politics with solidly grounded 
data and, time and again, demonstrated how the 
record deflates the myth. Together with Bates, 
media researcher at Harvard's Institute of 
Politics, Diamond continues his mythbusting in 
The Spot. 

Those familiar with Diamond's earlier books 
— The Tin Kazoo, Good News, Bad News, and 
Sign O/f— will recognize his highly readable 
style, laced with relevant anecdotes and good 
humor, and will also find certain themes and 



conclusions he had previously discussed in ab- 
breviated form now fully developed. Here, the 
authors begin with the idea that the political spot 
advertisement, or "polispot" as it is called, has 
come to dominate U.S. political campaigns. But 
they view controlled television as neither a Pan- 
dora's box nor a genie's bottle. Rather, its 
powers are held in check by print and electronic 
news reports and analyses, live debates and 
other components constituting and surrounding 
the campaign, not to mention the increasing so- 
phistication and skepticism of the average tele- 
vision viewer regarding advertising claims, poli- 
tical or otherwise. Furthermore, the dominance 
in the voting booth of real world events over 
controlled images is a theme which underlies 
every page. As a professed believer in "old poli- 
tics," Diamond would subscribe to the view that 
money, organization, party support, and poli- 
tical records are far more consequential in the 
electoral struggle than ads, polls, media consul- 
tants, and even network campaign coverage. 
Despite their often hyperbolic, self-endorsing 
claims, many media consultants finally do admit 
that their power is closely circumscribed by fac- 
tors beyond their control. Gerald Rafshoon, for 
example, said of Jimmy Carter's 1980 bid for re- 
election, "It we had it to do all over again, we 
would take the $30 million we spent in the 
[media] campaign and get three more heli- 
copters for the Iran rescue mission." 

Once this general caveat is given, the polispot 
can rightly be singled out as the centerpiece of all 
major political campaigns — always financially, 
and often strategically. The Spot includes a case 
study of John Glenn's 1984 campaign, outlined 
at some length to show the manner in which 
political ads fit into a general campaign strategy; 
a historical survey of the rise of political adver- 
tising from 1952 to 1980; an analysis of the 
rhetorical styles and four-phase strategy which 
routinely characterize ad campaigns; and a dis- 
cussion of the effects of paid political advertis- 
ing on the voters directly, on press coverage, and 
on the overall electorical process. 

Diamond and Bates viewed 650 political ads 
in the course of their research. They single out 
both the famous and the obscure, the originals 
and the rip-offs. They dust off forgotten class- 
ics, like Ike and Mamie singing "God Bless 
America" at the end of a campaign film. They 
also shed new light on some warhorses of politi- 
cal advertising, such as Tony Schwartz's infam- 
ous anti-Goldwater" Daisy Girl" commercial. 

As Diamond and Bates move through the 
many election campaigns, certain evolutionary 
trends emerge: the rise of the spot as the prin- 
cipal advertising format, the replacement of ad 
agencies by media consultants, and the shift 
from hard- to soft-sell techniques. At the same 
time, certain unchanging rules are revealed 
— e.g., no candidate can survive too great a 
discrepancy between his or her screen image and 



actual conduct as perceived by the press and 
public. Polispots are shown to be extremely ef- 
fective at certain things, such as increasing name 
identification and reinforcing the support of the 
already committed. But the authors conclude 
that no one can honestly say how well polispots 
can lure the undecided or convert the uncommit- 
ted, given all the variables that enter into an in- 
dividual's voting choice. Among media consult- 
ants, the rule of thumb is that a certain small per- 
centage of their spots work; they just never know 
which ones make up that percentage. 

The Spot focuses less on what political ads 
result in, and more on what they are the result 
of. This emphasis on the who, what, when and 
why of past campaigns provides a much-needed 
chronicle. This is particularly true for the early 
history, prior to Joe McGinnis's The Selling of 
the President and Watergate's making the cam- 
paign process itself the longest running election 
story. The book's final section, however, is its 
most valuable; it is here that many of the issues 
which surfaced in the preceding chapters and 
circulated at large during this last campaign are 
gathered together and analyzed. 

Diamond and Bates discuss the death of the 
party system, the rise of the outside candidate, 
the problems of financing media campaigns, 
and the telegenic president, among other hot 
topics. In their conclusions, Diamond and Bates 
are not hesitant to ride against the prevailing 
winds. For instance, on the subject of media 
consultants and their increasing importance in 
determining a campaign's foremost issues, the 
authors are not thrown off balance by the con- 
sultants' vertiginous ascent to power. From the 
days of Rosser Reeves, who winnowed Eisen- 
hower's 32 campaign issues down to three, to to- 
day's comprehensive media managers, it is still 
the boss who calls the final shots. "Candidates," 
the authors observe with characteristic level- 
headedness, "need not bend themselves and 
their candidacies to suit a particular consultant. 
They can always get a new helper." 

Despite its ample illustrations, scripts, bib- 
liography and 400-page length, The Spot still 
seems a fairly cursory treatment of a compli- 
cated history. Much ground is covered, but it is 
covered lightly. The resulting simplifications in 
campaign histories occasionally skew the 
record. For instance, the Lewis Lehrman-Mario 
Cuomo gubernatorial race in New York is men- 
tioned as an example of the polispots' effec- 
tiveness in creating name recognition for 
wealthy businessman Lehrman. The only 
specific reason given for Lehrman's loss is "the 
time buyer's alleged failure to buy enough air- 
time upstate." Intended or not, the implication 
is that more airtime might have made the dif- 
ference, but this overlooks the fact that 
Lehrman was already breaking records in his 
campaign expenditures and Cuomo won despite 



MARCH 1985 



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this financial imbalance. It also neglects the ex- 
istence of sharp ideological differences between 
the candidates, and the grounding of that race 
on those differences. The problem here, as 
elsewhere in the book, is one of brevity and 
omission, rather than mistaken analysis. 

The authors choose John Glenn as represen- 
tative of the "new politics campaigner" in the 
1984 Democratic race; first, because Glenn does 
aptly illustrate the fate of a candidate with too 
great a gap between his crafted media image and 
his public performance, and second, because 
Diamond is a self-described "Glenn- watcher 
since the Mercury astronaut days." But if one 
has to chose the quintessential new politics 
politician, Gary Hart would be a more suitable 
choice. His candidacy epitomized both the pow- 
er and limitations of a media campaign and the 
continued importance of old politics, and would 
have provided a more accurate reflection of the 
salient aspects of the 1984 Democratic primary 
with respect to the television candidacy. 

These are minor quibbles which represent not 
so much an argument with what The Spot has to 
say as a desire for the authors to go into greater 
depth and detail. In addition, a chapter on 
television and the electoral process in the other 
major democracies would have provided an il- 
luminating foil, particularly as the United States 
is alone in allowing the unlimited sale of televi- 
sion time to its candidates during the official 
campaign year. Even so, The Spot provides an 
informed and judicious assessment of the 
history, methods and effectiveness of political 
advertising on television. It should help clear the 
air of the cacophonous claims and laments 
surrounding the powers of the polispot, and 
make way for a more reasonable discourse on the 
subject in campaign years ahead. 

— Patricia Thomson 

Patricia Thomson is a film and video critic living 
in New York. 

© Patricia Thomson 1985 



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24 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1985 



IFESTIVALSI 



SINKING CREEK: 
LAID BACK 
IN NASHVILLE 



The Sinking Creek Film Celebration, held in 
Nashville, Tennessee every June, doesn't judge 
its film entries along genre lines, but rather in 
categories of young, student, and independent 
films. The result is an unusual diversity of theme, 
genre, and running length — a celebration of 
American independent filmmaking rather than 
just a showplace. 

All films selected for screening are given cash 
awards from a total of $6,000 at the judges' dis- 
posal, and all awarded prints are rented at one 
dollar per minute. The Tennessee Arts Commis- 
sion buys two films to add to its collection; last 
year, they were Godzilla Meets Mona Lisa, a 
documentary by Ralph Arlyck, and Yours for 
the Taking, an animated film by Karen Aqua 
and Jeannee Redmond. Sinking Creek also pre- 
sents two special awards for exceptional works in 
animation and documentation dealing with 
social and political issues (the John and Faith 
Hubley Award for Animation, and the Anthony 
Hodgkinson Award for Documentary). On 
average, 55 films are shown each year. 

In 1984, I went to Nashville after my student 
narrative, Filial Dreams, was selected for the 
celebration, and spent five full days taking in 
nearly every screening, seminar, and workshop. 
The concentration was on animation, documen- 
tary and experimental works; though the festival 
did clearly welcome narrative works, my impres- 
sion was that a good portion of American in- 
dependent narrative filmmakers are missing the 
boat at Sinking Creek. 

Mary Jane Coleman, founder and director of 
Sinking Creek, welcomes attending filmmakers 
with open arms. Coleman seems dedicated to 
spreading the word about independent cinema. 
She recognizes video as a sister art form to film, 
and has talked of incorporating it into the com- 
petition — perhaps next year. 

The projection of films at Sinking Creek is 
professional, and the festival sends your prints 
back to you promptly and in good condition. 
The celebration distributes and publicizes the 
schedule of screenings and seminars — and holds 
to it. 

The Sinking Creek Film Celebration is not a 
buyer's market. The audience is composed pri- 
marily of film enthusiasts and Nashville resi- 
dents. It's an educational, inspirational, and ex- 
hausting experience. Last year's guest artists and 



lecturers included Jane Aaron, Skip Blumberg, 
Pearl Bowser, John Canemaker, and the Filip- 
pino filmmaker Kidlat Tahimik. Films shown in- 
cluded Color the Apple Blue, by V.R. Jiminez; 
Eat the Beat, by David McCutchen; Follies: An 
Introduction to Don Quixote, by Michael Long; 
Machine Story, by Doug Miller; The Scarf, by 
Laura Morgan; and (The) Stars and Their 
Courses, by William Rose . — Susan Korda 

Festival dates: June 11-15. Submission deadline: 
April 1. Categories: Young Filmmaker, College 
Filmmaker, Independent Filmmaker. Formats: 
16mm prints only (no video even for selection 
purposes). Films must have been completed 
since April 1983. Contact: Mary Jane Coleman, 
CreeksideFarmRt. 8, Greenville, TN 37743; tel. 
(615) 638-6524. Mail entries to: Box 3253 Davy 
Crockett Station, Greenville, TN 37743. For 
program details, housing/ registration info: 
Dean James Sandlin, Sarratt Student Center, 
Vanderbilt University, Nashville TN 37240; tel. 
(615) 322-2471. 

Susan Korda is an independent producer, direc- 
tor, and editor working in New York City. 

BARNARD: 
CELLULOID SISTERS 

Each year the Library Media Services of Barnard 
College sponsors a festival organized by women 
and presenting work by women directors. Last 
October, 14 films and tapes were shown at the 



8th annual Works by Women Film and Video 
Festival, ranging from well-known directors like 
Diane Kurys and Max Almy to those premiering 
their first works. 

According to Christina Bickford, the media 
services librarian and festival director, the 
festival's aim is to exhibit a diverse sampling of 
women's productions; in this, the festival suc- 
ceeds very well, featuring documentaries, ex- 
perimental works, animation, and drama. When 
the festival began in the late 1970s — as important 
new women's films like With Babies and Ban- 
ners and Union Maids surfaced — the selections 
focused on women's themes. Since then, it has 
broadened in scope to embrace a wide spectrum 
of concerns. Last year's program included Julie 
Thompson's Citizen: The Political Life of Allard 
K. Lowenstein; My Film, My Film, My Film, by 
L. Bechtold, L. Keen and C. Kugel; and Mako 
Idemitsu's Hideo, It's Me, Mama. 

The festival is programmed by the librarian's 
media services staff, with the consultation of the 
Barnard Women's Center and Columbia Uni- 
versity faculty on an ad hoc basis. According to 
Bickford, the staff itself encompasses expertise 
in various aspects of the media. For example, 
Bickford sits on the jury of the American Film 
Festival, and her full-time assistant is 
videomaker Rii Kanzaki. Last year the entry 
fee-free open call for submissions drew approx- 
imately 200 films and tapes. The festival is not a 
competition and, as Bickford points out, "We're 
not attempting to give our stamp of approval, 




Mary Lucier's romantic "Ohio to Givemy: Memory of Light" played to a captivated 
audience at Barnard. Photo Kevin Bruneiie 



MARCH 1985 



THE INDEPENDENT 25 




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Jean-Francois Lyotard on the Post-Modern 

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Kate Kline May's "Alice Underground" was screened at Barnard's Works by Women 

festival. Courtesy Filmmaker 



but we try to select films for our direct au- 
dience — the Columbia and Barnard communi- 
ty." The festival pays rentals for selected works, 
and speakers are provided honoraria for per- 
sonal appearances. 

Mary Lucier, whose tape Ohio to Giverny: 
Memory of Light was screened, gave the pro- 
gramming approach high marks. "I thought it 
was very thoughtful," says Lucier. "For exam- 
ple, I was happy to be paired with Seeds of Sur- 
vival [by Pamela Roberts], about the conse- 
quences of farm overproduction. It gave my tape 
an interesting ecology slant. " Screenings are held 
at Barnard's New York City campus. Lucier, 
Maren Erskine (Hell's Kitchen Chronicle), and I 
all led discussions at the festival screenings and 
had extremely responsive and enthusiastic audi- 
ences. Erskine remembers, "The audience was 
incredibly visually bright. They were just very in- 
telligent and asked very good questions." Er- 
skine and Lucier also report good quality projec- 
tion for both film and video. 

Publicity is extensive throughout the Colum- 
bia University campus and around the city. 
According to Erskine, posters were completed at 
an early date, and she was given as many copies 
as she wanted. 

Lucier said that the Works by Women festival 
is not a place to meet television buyers — but that 
it is enjoyable. Says Erskine, "It was a very plea- 
sant experience." —Phyllis Jeroslow 
The festival will again be held in October this 
year. Deadline for entries is March 31. Formats: 
16mm and V< " video. Contact: Christina Bick- 
ford, Media Services Librarian, Wollman Li- 



brary, Barnard College, Columbia University, 

606 W. 120th St., New York, NY 10027; tel. 

(212) 280-2418. 

Phyllis Jeroslow is a Los Angeles documentary 

video /filmmaker whose work Of Grace and 

Steel was exhibited at the 1984 Works by Women 

festival. 

IN BRIEF 

This month's festivals have been 
compiled by Robert Aaronson and 
Deborah Erickson. Listings do not 
constitute an endorsement, and 
since some details change faster 
than we do, we recommend that 
you contact the festival for further 
information before sending prints or 
tapes. If your experience differs 
from our account please let us 
know so we can improve our 
reliability. 



DOMESTIC 



• ACADEMY OF MOTION PICTURE ARTS 
AND SCIENCES 12th ANNUAL STUDENT FILM 
AWARDS, Los Angeles, June 16. Films completed 
after April 1984 within the context of an accredited 
U.S. college, university, film or art school in 16 or 
35mm under 60 min. are eligible for awards in anima- 
tion, documentary, dramatic & experimental. 
Deadline: April. Contact: Elaine Richard, 8949 
Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90211; tel. (213) 
278-8990. 



26 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1985 



• ARGUS VIDEO COMPETITION, Minneapolis, 
May 28. "Amateurs, students & independents" in- 
vited to submit work for unspecified cash prizes & 
local cablecasting in any style, genre, or subject or in 
the "worst video" (read camp) category. An option 
on the application gives the festival permission to use 
your tape for any purpose whatsoever without com- 
pensation to you. Entry fee: $25/ first tape, $15 
thereafter. All video formats welcome, including 
film-to-tape transfers. Selection of submissions will 
be made available to cable access outlets nationwide. 
All entries receive "critique sheets." Deadline: April 
30. Contact: Argus, c/o Phil Murre, 241 1 NE Hayes 
St., Minneapolis, MN 55418; tel. (512) 789-2326. 

• FOCUS STUDENT FILM AWARDS: Los An- 
geles, Sept. 5. Ninth festival sponsored by Nissan 
gives 20 awards in 8 categories for filmmaking & 
screenwriting totalling $60,000 in cash and cars. Win- 
ners flown to LA for 4-5 days. Deadline: April 19. 
Contact: Sam Katz, FOCUS, 1140 Ave of the 
Americas, NY, NY 10036; tel. (212) 575-0270. 

• HOMETOWN USA VIDEO FESTIVAL, re- 
gional, July 11. Sponsored by the National Federal 
of Local Cable Programmers. Dual award cer- 
tificates in 17 categories (including video art, several 
documentary areas, experimental) for volunteer & 
cable company staff-produced programs that have 
been shown on public access channels. Entries 
screened at 9 NFLCP regional sites; judges represent 
access centers, local origination channels, category 
specialists. Selected winners compiled for the 
Hometown USA Bicycle Package, rented to access 
centers nationwide, without compensation to the 
producers. Consideration given to works that ad- 
dress community concerns. 3 /i " only. Fees: $15 & 
$20. Deadline: March 31. Contact: Paul D'Ari, 
NFLCP, 906 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, Washington, 
DC 20003; tel. (202) 544-7272. 

• HOUSTON INTERNATIONAL FILM FES- 
TIVAL, April 19-28. Houston touts itself as 
"regarded by the film world as one of the best run 
festivals," but we've heard many irate & woeful tales 
of non-existent receptions & seminars, inflated ad- 
mission fees (especially for the Awards Gala, even for 
winning filmmakers), unpaid prize money & more. 
[For an in-depth report on this festival, see Lulu 
Lopez's report in the Jan. /Feb. 1983 Independent.] 
The festival is, at least, receptive to independents. 
Enter with caution. (If you have anything good to 
say, we'll be glad to hear it.) Deadline: end of March. 
Contact: HIFF, Box 56566, Houston, TX 77256; tel. 
(713)965-9955. 

• KENYON FILM FESTIVAL, Ohio, April 19-20. 
The 19th annual edition invites independent films in 
16mm under 60 min. to compete for over $700 in 
prizes. Faculty & student juries from Kenyon College 
& audience votes determine winners. Entry fee: $11. 
Deadline: April 1. Contact: Kenyon Film Festival 
'85, Box 17, Gambier, OH 43022; att.: Paul Cym- 
bala, Jonah Madoff, Dirs. 

• NATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY AWARD FOR 
EXCELLENCE IN MEDIA, Los Angeles, Aug. 
23-28 . Competition for $ 1 ,000 in 2 categories on sub- 
jects relating to psychology: News & Documentary, 
& Entertainment. Most of last year's 65 entries came 
from networks & public television, but independents 
were represented. Winners flown to annual 
American Psychological Association convention for 
awards reception. 1984 winner was Healthbeat series 



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MARCH 1985 



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produced by Channel 5 in Boston. Work must have 
been released in 1984. Deadline: April 15. Notifica- 
tion by late July. Contact: Joanne Albanes, APA, 
1200 17th St., NW, Washington, DC 20036; tel. (202) 
955-7710. 

• NEW ENGLAND FILM FESTIVAL, Boston, 
June. Limited to New England residents. This com- 
petition, in its 10th year, invites independent & stu- 
dent work in S-8 & 16mm. Prizes include $2,500 in 
cash & film materials. Winning films presented at the 
Berkeley Performance Center & the New England 
Arts Biennial. 1984 winners included Ted Lymon's 
experimental FLA. ME., Karen Aqua's animated 
Yours for the Taking, Jackie Ochs's The Secret 
Agent, and Jem Cohen's A Road to Fla. Deadline: 
March 15. Contact: AES,. Division of Continuing 
Education, Univ. of Mass., Amherst, MA 01033; tel. 
(413) 545-2360. 

• NEW YORK CITY EXPERIMENTAL VIDEO & 
FILM FESTIVAL, May & June. Original, abstract, 
unclassifiable & experimental films & video high- 
lighted. Jury members in 3rd event last year included 
Reynold Weidenaar, Juan Downey & Ann-Sargent 
Wooster. Darrill Wilson's Avian Moves, Secrets of 
Cindy, by Cindy Kleine, and Ilene Segalove's Why I 
Got Into TV and Other Stories were screened in video 
format at New York's Millennium, Downtown Com- 
munity TV & the Brooklyn Academy of Cultural 
Arts Downtown Center. Priority given to hybrid 
works combining film & video. Fee: $10. Deadline: 
March 31. Contact: Hunter Yoder, 331 Smith St., 
Brooklyn, NY 11231; tel. (718) 858-3140. 

• ROCHESTER FINGER LAKES EXPOSITION, 
June. For upstate New York film & videomakers. 
Deadline: March 15-May 5. Contact: Maria Via, 
Memorial Art Gallery, University of Rochester, 490 
University Ave., Rochester, NY 14607; tel. (716) 
275-4775. 

• SIGGRAPH '85, San Francisco, July 22-26. 12th 

annual conference on computer graphics & interac- 
tive techniques presents papers, courses, installations 
& film & video. "Anyone using computer graphics to 
produce video or film is encouraged to enter." 
Everyone will be there from Lucasfilm to Atari. 
Deadline: April 17. Contact: Siggraph '85 Con- 
ferences Office, Smith Bucklin and Assoc, 1 1 1 East 
Wacker Dr., Chicago, IL 60601; tel. (312) 644-6610. 

• SUFFOLK & NASSA U COUNTY FILM & VID- 
EO FESTIVAL, New York, May-June. Open to 
work in numerous categories that relates to these 
Long Island counties, either by maker, locations or 
"roots." 20 winners divide $5,000 in cash & in-kind 
film services. Sponsored by Suffolk County Office of 
Economic Development, Motion Picture/TV Bur- 
eau. Deadline: April 30. Contact: Christopher 
Cooke, 4175 Veterans Memorial Highway, 
Ronkonkoma, NY 11779; tel. (516) 588-1000. 



FOREIGN 



• CAMBRIDGE FILM FESTIVAL, England, July. 
45 films were unspooled in 1984 at 9th edition of this 
event, part of the longer-running Cambridge Arts 
Festival. Primarily for launching British pics, though 
last year they included, among others, Gregory 
Nava's El Norte. Contact: David Jakes, Tony Jones, 



28 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1985 



Dirs., Cambridge Festival Association, The Guild 
Hall, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England CB2 
3QJ; tel. (223) 35 89 77. 

• COSTA BRA VA AMATEUR FILM FESTIVAL, 
Spain, June. Running for over 20 years, for non- 
professionals with award-wining films in S-8 or 
16mm produced within past 3 years. Contact: 
Agrupacio Fotografica y Cinematographica, Oficina 
Permanente del Festival Aunytamiento, San Felius de 
Guixois, Gerona, Spain; tel. (72) 32 00 29. 

• FLORENCE FILM FESTIVAL, Italy, Oct. 
31 -Nov. 3. This features-only event, headed by 
Fabrizio Fiumi, occupies three theaters in Florence 
before going on the road to Rome each year. 
Specializing in progressive new material; in- 
dependents encouraged to enter. According to 
Fiumi, "We are looking for work which is inventive & 
powerful, if not polished." In 1984 U.S. participa- 
tion included Peter Stuart & Adam Small's Another 
State of Mind, Herbert Day's Cafe Flesh, Tony 
Garnett's HandGun, Eagle Pennell's Last Night at 
the Alamo, Jonathan Demme's Stop Making Sense 
(opening), Penelope Spheeris's Suburbia, Robert 
Young's The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez, and Bette 
Gordon's Variety. Catalogue in English & Italian; 
in '84 the festival produced a 320-page press clipping 
book. Exhibited prints subtitled by Fiumi's com- 
puterized "softitler" projection system, which does 
not mark the print. Fiumi visits the U.S. frequently & 
and has skedded the fest to follow next year's In- 
dependent Feature Project Market in New York. Ad- 
dress: Via Martini Del Popolo 27, 50122 Firenze, Ita- 
ly; send Fiumi a letter about your film & he'll contact 
you; or tel. 055/240720-294105. 

• GOLDEN ROSE DE MONTREUZ, Switzerland, 
May 8-15. 25th annual event is meetingplace for TV 
producers & programmers. Broadcast entries in field 
of light entertainment made since April eligible. Ac- 
cording to John Nathan, fest's North American 
representative, there's a new competition for in- 
dependents. Deadline: late March. Contact: John 
Nathan, Overseas Music and Video Services, 509 
Madison Ave., NY, NY 10022; tel. (212) 223-0044. 

• GRIERSON DOCUMENTARY SEMINARS, 

Toronto, November. 10th annual weeklong discus- 
sion & screening forum. Approximately 21 film & 
videomakers invited to present new work. Only 2 
Americans will be invited. Entries in 35mm, 16mm or 
video. No fee. Deadline: April- June. Contact: On- 
tario Film Association, Box 366, Station Q, Toronto, 
Ontario, Canada, M4T 2M5. 

• MOSCOW INTERNATIONAL FILM FES- 
TIVAL, June 28- July 12. This biennial ranks with 
Cannes, Berlin & Venice for prestige & commercial 
value on the festival circuit. Organized into three 
competitive categories (35mm features; shorts & 
documentaries; children's films) & many non- 
competitive sections. In 1983, festival presented 200 
films from around the world and hosted 1 ,000 guests 
from 104 countries. Joan Harvey's From Hitler to 
MX was screened in the documentary competition; 
but for U.S. narrative features the interest is definite- 
ly on stars & big budgets. Major international market 
attracts buyers & distributors. Deadline: May 1. 
Contact: Y. Khodjaev, Director, Directorate of In- 
ternational Film Festivals, Sovinterfest, Sosinko of 
the USSR, 10 Khokhlovsky Per., Moscow 109028, 
USSR; tel. 297 76 45; telex 41 1263 fest SU. 



• MUNICH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTI- 
VAL, Germany, June 22-30. According to director 
Eberhard Hauff, attendance in 1984 doubled at this 
non-competitive expo to a staggering 45,000. '85 will 
only be the third year for what shapes up as an impor- 
tant venue for international cinema. Last year's sec- 
tions included European Cinema (as home of the 
European Film Festival), Films by Women (including 
Dina & Marisa Silver's Old Enough & Penelope 
Spheeris's Suburbia), an American Independent 
Films section which numbered 1 1 features & 5 shorts, 
a Made in Texas section of 3 features & 5 shorts; a 
Robert Young retro, a children's film festival, a 
music fest (featuring U.S. selections by Alan Sacks 
(du Beat-e-o), Jonathan Demme's Stop Making 
Sense, Renee Cho's Toshiko Akiyoshi: Jazz Is My 
Native Language, and Robert Mugge's Black Wax). 
There was also an experimental section, a section for 
shorts & a series of special screenings. U.S. attendees 
included Young, Christian Blackwood, Spheeris, John 
Hanson of Wildrose, Mugge, Alexander Rockwell 
(Hero), Jackie Raynal (Hotel New York), & Marc 
Ranee (Death and the Singing Telegram). Good press 
coverage & crowds make this a filmmaker's event. A 
market is planned for '85. Contact: Tim Ney, Indepen- 
dent Feature Project, 21 E 86th St., NY, NY 10024; tel. 
(212) 496-0909; in Germany: Turkenstrasse 93, 8000 
Munich 40, W. Germany; tel. 089/39 3011-12; telex 
5214674 imfd. 

• SALSOMAGGIORE FILM & TV FESTIVAL, 
Italy, April. This festival has of late been emphasiz- 
ing video; everything from Saturday Night Live to a 
selection from the Kitchen in NY was included last 
year. Prior years included Amos Poe's Subway 
Riders, Jim Jarmusch's Permanent Vacation & Sarah 
Driver's You Are Not I. Buyers & distributors from 
Europe attend; U.S. participation limited to a selec- 
tion of about 40 films. Contact: Via del Tritone 61, 
00187 Roma, Italy, or Via Petrarca 13A, 43100 Par- 
ma, Italy. 

• SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL, Australia, June 
7-23. Director Rod Webb will again visit the U.S. to 
find independent work for the "Alternatives" section 
as well as the main program for this festival's 32nd 
edition. Seeing Red, Love in Vain, Black Wax, When 
the Mountains Tremble, The Secret Agent, Style 
Wars, Dummy Love in the Atomic Age, Stranger 
Than Paradise, Miraj, Hotel New York, Burroughs, 
Variety, and the 18-minute 1st prize winner Aqui Se 
Lo Halla, by Lee Sokol, were among shorts & 
features screened in '84. Sydney is a good place to 
have your work seen by distributors, buyers & other 
festival directors. Bids were made for some U.S. pro- 
duct last year. Applications available at AIVF (send 
SASE). Deadline: April 1. Film deadline: May 8. 
Contact: Sydney Film Festival, Box 25, P.O. Gelbe, 
N.S.W., Australia 2037; tel. 02 660 3844; telex, 
75111. 

• TAORMINA INTERNATIONAL FILM FES- 
TIVAL, Italy, July. Last year's American Film Week 
highlighted only major Hollywood productions, 
from Splash to Beat Street, although Marva Nabili's 
Nightsongs was entered in the competition. Most 
films shown have or are about to get Italian theatrical 
release. Taormina is a vacation resort town in Sicily 
which attracts the Italian industry on holiday. Con- 
tact: Festival delle Nazione Taormina, Via Calabria, 
Isol 301 -bis, Ente Provinciale del Turismo, Messina, 
Italy, or: Dir. Guglielmo Biraghi, Via P.S. Macini 
#12, Roma Italy. 



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THE INDEPENDENT 29 



IN AND OUT OF PRODUCTION 



Mary Guzzy 



Actor Maxwell Alexander contemplates the possibility of self- 
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4-minute, 35mm color film recently completed by William Engeler and 
James Kafador of Funnyworid Films. 




"Breaking Silence," a documentary about incest and child abuse, was 
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It was produced and directed by Theresa To Mini of Future Educational 
Films, Inc. in Berkeley, California. 

30 THE INDEPENDENT 





Placing personal 
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THE INDEPENDENT.) 

□ S20 year student (enclose proof of student ID) 

□ S50 year library (subscription only) 

□ 875 year organization 

□ $45 year foreign (outside the US, Canada 
and Mexico) 



N 



Addr 



City_ 



State Zip. 



Country (if outside US)_ 
Telephone 



Send check or money order to: AIVF. 625 Broadway, 9th floor, 
New York, NY 10012; or call (212) 473-3400. 















Is it the spectre of home movies hanging over the wind- 
shields of this traveler's mind? Barbara Hammer's film, 
Tourist," explores the perceptions of the spectator in 
an unfamiliar environment. Both "Tourist" and another 
ecent work, "Parisian Blinds," will be screened at the 
Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, June 5-9. 





Alex Faust (Alain Cloarec) confronts closet vigilante Merce (Dan Moser) in "Made for TV," a 
16-minute comedy film written, directed and produced by Jaime Hellman about a man who 
moves his family to Pleasantville, New York, only to discover life there bears a disturbing 
resemblance to a made-for-TV movie. The film has already garnered several festival 
awards and been licensed for cablecast by the "Culture Shock" series in Middleburg, 
Virginia. 




All photos courtesy filmmakers 



Former MIT chemist and computer programmer James Parks explains Ohm's 
Law to a group of Nepalese students in their mud and stone classroom. Parks, 
who left the professional world in 1982 to become a volunteer math and science 
teacher in the village of Melung, is the subject of "Jimi Sir: Melung's Window on 
the West," a 58-minute documentary by Claude von Roesgenof of Burnside 
Productions. 



MARCH 1985 



THE INDEPENDENT 31 



NOTICES 



Notices are listed free of charge. 
AIVF members receive first priority; 
others included as space permits. 
Send Notices to: THE INDEPENDENT, 
c/o FIVF, 625 Broadway, 9th floor, 
New York, NY 10012, attn.: Notices. 
For further information, call: (212) 
473-3400. Deadline: 8th of second 
preceding month (e.g. March 8 for 
the May issue). Edited by Debra 
Payne. 



Buy • Rent • Sell 

• FOR SALE: Beaulieu 6008 Pro w/Schneider 6-70 
fl. 4 zoom lens. 2 external battery packs w/recharging 
unit. Tiffen filters, Tamron c-mount adapter. Spectra 
Pro light meter. All like new. $1750. Karyl-Lynn Zietz, 
Kope Productions, Box 40827, Palisades Sta., 
Washington DC 20016, (202) 686-0898. 

• FOR REM: 6-Plate & 8-Plate Steenbecks. 
Delivered to your location. Octavio Molina, (718) 
855-8366, NY.' 

• FOR SALE RENT: Used Sony M-3 camera, 4800 
deck w/BVU modification, CECO fluidhead tripod, 
$200/day, w/technician, mikes, lights, & monitor 
available. Eclair ACL 16mm camera w/ 12- 120 Ang. 
lens & Nagra 111 w/crystal sync. (212) 982-6054, NY. 

• FOR SALE: 9.5-5.7 w/CA-1 mount. Mark, (212) 
679-4300, NY. 

• FOR SALE: J&K optical printer w/own sequencer, 
Super-8 & 16mm modules, mint condition, $2700. 
Bolex Rx 5, $700. Pan Cinor Berthiot Vari Switar 
17-85 zoom, w/viewfinder, $400. Bolex 16mm matte 
box, $190. (212) 677-2181, eves. (212) 924-2254, NY. 

• FOR SALE: Arri II-B package. Variable-speed 
motor, 7 magazines, 400 ' & 200 ', sharp lenses, lens 
shade w/filter holders, filters, orig. cases. Nicad 
batteries & chargers, original, 2 Arri II-B tripods, long 
legs & baby legs, mint condition. 16mm camera, both 
single system & double system w/Nagra. 2400 ' 
magazines, 12-120 Angenieux zoom, batt. & AC 
Nagra III vv/many additional factory-made features, 
e.g. built-in mike for slates. Many accessories & 
adaptors. Sony \ideo camera 1640 in case, Sony VO 
4800 deck, mint condition. Best offer. Ron, (212) 
928-6494, (212) 662-5364, NY. 

• FOR SALE: ACL mint cond. Kinoptic rotating 
finder, 2^100' & 1-200' mags. 9.5-95mm, battery, 
$6500. ACL excellent cond. w/CP motor, 2-400 ' & 
2-200' mags, 9.5-5. 7mm battery, $6500. Moviola 
86AH flatbed, flickerless prism, instant start/stop, 
perfect cond. SI 1,000. (206) 285-3057, WA. 

• FOR SALE: Moviola M77 model, 6-plate, solid 
prism, quick stop circuit. Recently overhauled & 
cleaned. $6000. (207) 235-8506, ME. 

• FOR SALE: 6-plate Steenbeck model ST-900W, 
excellent cond., $8000 (includes delivery); Arri BL 
w/2^400 ' mags, Ang 12-120, case, good cond, $2000. 
JK K-103 optical printer w/animation motor & quartz 
light, rotoscope mirror, excellent cond., $2000. Dan 
Curry, (616) 454-8910, MI. 

• FOR SALE: Nizo S480 S-8 camera /Schneider fl. 8 



8-48mm power zoom lens, auto-dissolve, fade in/out, 
slo-mo, time-lapse, single-frame, variable shutter & 
adjustable diopter eyepiece. Best offer. David, (212) 
927-5363, NY. 

• FOR SALE: Beaulieu 5008 multispeed S-8 sound 
camera. Brand new. Features: Schneider optics, F/1.4 
6- 70mm zoom lens, power zoom w/manual override, 
automatic exposure control system w/manual over- 
ride, sync capability, comes w/NICAD battery re- 
charger. $500 or best offer. (212) 228-2178, NY. 

• FOR SALE: Beaulieu 16mm movie camera/ power 
pack, charger & case. 75mm Var 1:2.5 lens, 25mm 
Lytar 1:1.9 lens, 10mm Switar 1:1.6 lens. $1500 for 
package; will sell separately. (215) 249-3676, PA. 

• FOR REST: Large, open space/ film theater 
available for screenings, meetings, etc. Reasonable 
rates. Robin Dickie, Collective for Living Cinema, 
(212)925-3926, NY. 

• FOR SALE: 35 sealed 400 ' rolls, Eastman Kodak 
7247 negative raw stock (stored in freezer); Eclair ACL 
200 '. Best offer. (914) 452-5807, NY. 

• FOR SALE: 6-plate fiatbeds; 10 left on a limited 
offer purchase, $3000 each. Scott Frank, (212) 
431-3370, NY. 

• FOR SALE: Oxberry animation table stand, model 
LC-3 w'/motorized extension dual bars model S-C; 
16mm camera, lights, Acme registration punch, 
$11,995. 16mm Auricon Super 1200 camera, TVT 
shutter, filmagnetic; 17-85 Pan Cinor lens, 1200' 
magazine; complete $1295. D4 Film Studios, (617) 
444-0226, MA. 

• FOR SALE: 16mm footage, Midland nuclear plant 
abandonment announcement (7/16/84); Midwest 
Freeze Rally, Chicago (10/13/84) w/speeches by 
Harold Washington, Helen Caldicott, & Jesse 
Jackson; Geraldine Ferraro at MSU (1 1/4/84). Color 
negative, sound. Paul Hart, News on Film, 625 
Division, E. Lansing, MI 48823, (517) 351-2603. 

• FOR SALE: Mitchell 1200' mag & A&J hard 
shipping case, like new, $400. 3 Mitchell 400 ' mags, 
$100 each. Frenzel double shoulder pod for 16mm 
camera, S200. Diane or Bob, (716) 885-9777, NY. 



Conferences • Workshops 

• 13th ANNUAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS 
POLICY RESEARCH CONFERENCE: April 
21-24, at Airlie House in Airlie, VA. Conference topic: 
"Equity: Social & Economic Issues." Contact: James 
Miller, Conference Chair, Hampshire College, School 
of Communications & Cognitive Science, Amherst, 
MA 01002. 

• RE-THINKING THE SPECTATOR: GENDER, 
HISTOR Y, THEOR Y: 4th annual symposium of film 
theory at the Whitney Humanities Center, Yale Univ., 
March 29 & 30. Invited participants include Laura 
Mulvey, E. Ann Kaplan, Noel Carroll, Philip Rosen, 
Mary' Ann Doane, Kaja Silverman, Janet Staiger, 
Janet Bergstrom. Contact: Shira Wolosky, Ass. Dir., 
Whitney Humanities Center, 53 Wall St., Yale Univ., 
New Haven, CT 06520, (203) 436-0123. 

• KUNST MIT EIGEN-SINN: International exhibi- 
tion of recent art by women in Vienna, Austria, March 
29-May 12. Accompanying symposium planned for 
March 29, 30, & 31. For information on programs 



(symposium, film, video, performance), contact: 
Museum Moderner Kunst, Museum d. 20 Jahrhun- 
derts, Schweizergarten, A- 1030, Wein, Austria. 

• Illh L.A. PROFESSIONAL VIDEOSHOW & 
VIDEO PRODUCTION CONFERENCE: Long 
Beach Convention Center, May 20-23. Accompanying 
events include Independent Video Festival & meetings 
of the Los Angeles ITVA. Contact: Lisa Welp, The 
Professional Videoshow, 51 Sugar Hollow Rd., Dan- 
bury, CT 06810, (203) 743-2120. 

• LEARN TO ANIMATE ON A MICROCOM- 
PUTER: Janet Benn teaches classes in Moviemaker 
software on Atari 800s at Computer Arts Forum (af- 
filiated w/Pratt). MVM I is basic course; MVM II 
covers longer projects & video production procedures. 
Janet, (212) 966-1487, NY, or (201) 659-0322, NJ. 

• TELEVISIONS VIDEO INSTRUCTION: Classes 
offered at The Video Study Center, NYC. Made-for- 
TV video workshop, computer editing workshop, ad- 
vanced computer editing, intensive workshop in video 
electronics, FCC license. Jim Reaven, Video Study 
Center, Global Village, 454 Broome St., NY, NY 
10013,(212)966-7526. 

• VIDEO WORKSHOPS: Center for New Televi- 
sion, Chicago, IL. March: Music video seminar; 
editing, part 2; basic production; editing part 1 ; editing 
theory. April: one-camera portable production: script 
to screen. (312)565-1787. 

• FILM WORKSHOPS: Lighting, optical printing, 
sound recording. All offered in March. Collective for 
Living Cinema, (212) 925-3926, NY. 



Editing Facilities 



• JVC/CONVERGENCE HIGH-SPEED EDIT- 
ING: System w 7 fades & time code reading, generating 
& window-dubs; also computer w/authentic CMX list 
management program for effects transitions in CMX 
code, auto-renumbering & list cleaning. Sophisticated 
character generator vv/ graphics capability. Everything 
$20/hr. w/ editor. Bob Wiegand, (212) 925-6059, NY. 

• EDITING ROOM: 6-plate Steenbeck, large room, 
fully equipped, 24-hr. access, telephone, special low 
rates for independents. Bob Mack Productions, (212) 
736-3074, NY. 

• NEW HORIZON STUDIOS: Off-line editing in 
comfortable surroundings. Convenient midtovvn loca- 
tion. Includes Tapehandlers w/ new RM866U, TBC, 
3M proc, waveform, Ikegami title camera, CG, 16 ch. 
audio mixing, JVC KM 2000 SEG, chroma key, time 
code capability. $90/hr. (212) 490-9082, NY. 

• SOHO FILM EDITING ROOM: For rent, warm & 
comfortable cutting room complete w/6-plate, reel to 
reel & other accessories. 24 hr. access, fully equipped, 
telephone, refrigerator. Extremely inexpensive. Scott 
Frank, (212)431-3370, NY. 

• NEGATIVE MATCHING: A&B rolls cut at 
reasonable rates. Bruce, (212) 228-7352, NY. 

• REGULAR & S-8 FILM-TO- VIDEO TRANS- 
FER: Professional quality, industrial or broadcast. 
Landy, 400 E. 83rd St., #4A, NYC 10028, (212) 
734-1402. 

• EDITING ROOM: % ' and VHS-to- 3 /i " w/Con- 
vergence Super 90, tapehandlers, Adda TBC, time 



32 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1985 



code reader-generator, fades, overdubs. New equip- 
ment, Lincoln Center area. $20/hr. during business 
hours for AI VF members editing noncommercial proj- 
ects. Also available: editors, scripting, Chyron. Hank 
Domatch, TV Enterprises, (212) 874-5424, NY. 



Films • Tapes Wanted 

• FILM FOOTAGE: Anything re: John Lennon's 
death, Ronald Reagan. Paul Hart, 625 Division, E. 
Lansing, MI 48823, (517) 351-2603. 

• LEISURE TIMES: Weekly hr.-long entertainment 
program aired on local access channel in Litchfield 
county, seeks high quality shorts under lOmins.on 3 A " 
or VHS video for broadcast. Any subject matter. No 
pay but work will be viewed by approximately 15,000 
viewers. Tapes returned after broadcast. Send tapes & 
release to: Leisure Times, c/o Generic Films, Inc., Box 
2715, Waterbury, CT 06723, Attn: Gorman Bechard, 
(203) 756-3017. 

• OUTREACH DEPARTMENT OF CENTER 
FOR AFRICAN ART: Looking for recent films & 
video on Africa. Send info to: Kate Renner & Tom 
Wheelock, Center for African Art, 54 E. 68th St., NYC 
10021,(212)861-1200. 

• VIDEO ART SHOWCASE: Soon-to-be weekly 
feature on Manhattan Cable TV, seeks innovative pro- 
gramming from video/computer artists. V.A.S., 451 
Broome St., 5W, NYC 10013; Attn: Gil Shaar, Pro- 
gramming. 

• INTERNATIONAL TELEVISION ARTS: NY- 
based video/computer arts distribution network now 
accepting material for representation. Send descrip- 
tion & format to: I.T.V.A., 799 Broadway, Suite 325, 
NYC 10013; Attn: Jim Wiener. 

• RADICAL GUERRILLA THEATER: Looking 
for films, tapes & stills of following New York-based 
groups which I participated in from 1966-1969: the 
Sixth Street Theatre, the Pageant Players, Radical 
Theatre Repertory. Also reviews, posters, etc. covering 
any such groups, active during the period. Allan 
Tobias, 35 Orange St., Brooklyn, NY 11201. 

• NEW AGE MARKETING: We help video pro- 
ducers who have no national distributors find shelf 
space in video & other retail outlets in the San Fran- 
cisco area. Manufacturers representative on a 
commission-only basis. Nick Yale, New Age 
Marketing, 257 Clinton Park, San Francisco, CA 
94103,(415)621-6142. 

• EBONY EYES CINEMA: Exhibition, distribution 
& production of independent progressive, African 
&/or international film. We need catalogues, 
brochures, & other information/promotion materials 
to develop an exhibition schedule, promote theater & 
initiate & develop our market & marketing strategy. 
Contact: Njia Kai Shingirai, 11355 Asbury Park, 
Detroit, MI 48227, (313) 835-2968. 

• INDEPENDENT DISTRIBUTOR: Seeks nonfic- 
tion programming for international TV market, 
especially sports footage. Minimum length: 30 min. 
RuthJ.Feldman, 1433 10th St., #7, Santa Monica, CA 
90401,(213)394-2984. 

• EDUCA TIONAL FILMS & TAPES: For distribu- 
tion to the school market (elementary-college). Pro- 
grams marketed individually to specifically targeted 



audiences. Company has record of high print sales. 
Length preferred: 15-30 min. Send complete program 
description to: Circle Oak Production, 260 Katonah 
Ave., Katona, NY 10536 , (914) 232-9551. 



Freelancers 



• VIDEOGRAPHER: W/new Sony DXC-M3 & 
broadcast gear ready to shoot news, documentary, 
dance & other subjects. Full ENG package & crew as 
needed; rates negotiable. L. Goodsmith, (212) 
989-8157, NY. 

• ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, ASSOCIATE PRO- 
DUCER, PRODUCTION COORDINATOR: Cap- 
able, experienced, seeks film & video work on indepen- 
dent narratives & documentaries; rates negotiable. R. 
Kormos, (212) 460-8921, NY. 

• MUSIC DIRECTOR: Experienced composer avail- 
able for film & video scores. Library or original music, 
all styles. (718) 965-2178, NY. 

• BILINGUAL SPANISH-ENGLISH VIDEO- 
GRAPHER & CREW: Available w/broadcast quality 
package. Will travel. Rate negotiable. Octavio Molina, 
177 Water St., Brooklyn, NY 11201, (718) 855-8366. 

• WRITER/PRODUCTION ASST: 6 yrs. ex- 
perience writing, some production. Eager to learn all 
aspects of film/video production, B.S. in mass com- 
munications. Valerie Piotrowiski, 698 Westmeve Rd., 
Des Plaines, IL 60016, (312) 437-6342. 

• SOUND RECORDIST: W/equipment available 
for work on docs, low budget features & shorts. Film & 
video. Negotiable rates. Eliza, (212) 620-5779, NY. 

• CINEMATOGRAPHER: Available w/CP-16 & 
Arri 16BL packages; Nagra w/mikes, lighting kit, 
6-plate editing console & mini-van for camera crew. 
Reasonable rates/special rates for documentaries. Bi- 
lingual (English-Italian, some Spanish). Renato 
ToneUi, (718)236-0153, NY. 

• PRODUCTION ASST: Available for line produc- 
tion work, research & writing. New York attorney. 
Able to assist in development, distribution ar- 
rangements & any production assistant work. (212) 
873-5866, NY. 

• MUSIC VIDEO PRODUCER/EDITOR: Award- 
winning video producer & music video seminar in- 
structor at the Center for New Television, Chicago, is 
interested in working on creative video/film projects. 
Show reel & portfolio available. Donald Howze, (312) 
846-6199, IL. 

• VIDEO RECORDIST: Looking for work on 
feature/documentary as recordist/boom/audio asst. 
No rock, no freebies. DougTourtelot, (212)489-0232, 
NY. 

• ARTIST: Available for storyboard work, fast, 
dependable. Susan, (212) 252-7851, NY. 

• ANIMATOR: Experienced working w/indepen- 
dents; title design, character animation a specialty. 
Reasonable rates for reasonable schedules. Sample 
reel. John Baumann, (212) 533-4705, (212) 254-6300, 
ext. 294, 331, NY. 

• INDEPENDENT VIDEOGRAPHER: Specialist 
in Vi "-1 " w/ synchronous stereo digital audio. Ex- 
cellent cinematographer, camera operator & editor. 



CHANGING 
LIGHT STYLES 

Our versatile units let you choose 
various light styles: hard, semi, or 
very soft, simply by adding 
accessories. Also 12, 30, 120 & 240 
volts. Lowel— best way to avoid 
mid-light crisis. 

Send for catalog and newsletter. 
Lowel 475 Tenth Ave. N.Y.. N.Y. 
10018. 212-947-0950. Lowel West- 
3407 W Olive Ave. Burbank, Ca. 91505. 



818-846-7740 




(AIVF members only) 



29th STREET 
VIDEO, Inc. 

(212)594-7530 



MARCH 1985 



THE INDEPENDENT 33 



Skilled in use of computers in pre- & postproduction. 
Have own corporation, lawyer, & accountant, which 
you could use. Louis Hawthrone, TEC, Inc. 27 
Witherspoon St., 2nd floor, Princeton, NJ 08542, 
(609)921-6037. 

• APPRENTICE ASST EDITOR: Freelancing in 
Boston, 1984 Emerson College grad. Very organized, 
willing to work long hours for low pay in exchange for 
experience. Will relocate. D. Caruso, 19 Prescott St., 
Newton MA 02160, (617) 969-6804. 

• ART DIRECTION SET DRESSING, PROPS: I 
would like to help design your production. Reasonable 
rates. Resume & portfolio available. Eva, (212) 
724-3879, NY. 

• EDITING PRODUCTION/RESEARCH ASSIS- 
TANT: Varied professional experience in all aspects 
of film/video production. Anthropological field 
work. Rates negotiable. Debbie Bergman, (212) 
228-3515, NY. 



Opportunities • Gigs 

• PRODUCTION STAFF WANTED: For summer 
'85 shoot of an O. Henry short story, The Green Door. 
Want P.M., A.D., D.P., editor & sound. Tom 
Fonatan, Marfon Productions, (212) 581-5457, NY. 

• VECINO/NEIGHBOR BRIGADE: A 

community-to-community project will assist residents 
of Nicaragua in construction of daycare center/health 
clinic. Brigade will consist of 10-15 people, including 
children, scheduled to depart June 1985, for 6 wks. 
Looking for filmmakers &/or videographers to docu- 
ment this event, preferably Spanish-speaking (bil- 
ingual), who can pay their own way & assist in fund- 
raising for the media project. Kendall Hale, 121 Fisher 
Ave., Roxbury, MA 02120, (617) 731-1590, MA. 

• WANTED: Screenplays, books, stories, plays for 
motion pictures, TV. Professional evaluations by ex- 
studio story consultants (Orion & Filmways). Qualify- 
ing manuscripts offered sales, development deals, 
referrals to major literary agents. Flaming Rose 
Prods., 770 Princeton Ave., Metedoconk, NJ 08724, 
(201) 892-5552. 

• VIDEO ARTIST IN RESIDENCE FOR 
1984-1985: Work w/museum in teaching video to 
young adults & work on special projects. Residency re- 
quires 40% of time directed to museum-related proj- 



ects & i/d^o to artist's own work. Hrs. to be arranged. 
Stipend $6000. Send cover letter & resume to: Philip 
Verre, Chief Curator, Bronx Museum of the Arts, 
1040 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY 10456. 

• CAMERAMAN/ PRODUCER: Wanted for docu- 
mentary in Egypt, early fall 1985. Must have ex- 
perience. (319) 277-8090, FL. 



Publications 



• THE VIDEO REGISTER 1984-1985: 7th edition. 8 
directories, $29.95. Includes over 3200 professional 
television facilities in industry, medicine, cable, 
religion, government & education in the U.S.; 940 pro- 
duction/postproduction facilities & roster of con- 
sultants, equipment dealers & manufacturers, pro- 
gram publishers & distributors. 434 pp.; $54.50. 
Knowledge Industry Publications, 701 Westchester 
Ave., White Plains, NY 10604; (800) 248-KIPI (toll- 
free); NY State (914) 328-9157. 

• TV MOVIES: Published every other year; now lists 
over 16,000 films— theatrical releases & made-for-TV 
movies. Rates each film, short critique & list of data 
such as director, cast, yr. of release & country of origin. 
$9.95. New American Library, 1633 Broadway, NYC 
10019. 

• JOBS IN THE ARTS & ARTS ADMINISTRA- 
TION: 12-pp. booklet listing souces for employment 
in the arts. Identifies national & regional sources for 
career counseling, job placement & job referral, as well 
as newsletters & other periodicals that regularly carry 
arts-related employment listings. $4.00. Rebecca 
Lewis, Center for Arts Information, 625 Broadway, 
NYC 10012; (212) 677-7548. 

• THE CENTER QUARTERLY: Pays writers 
honorarium of $100 for published articles. Text should 
be approximately 2,000 words, typed, double-spaced. 
Quarterly, information for arts professionals regard- 
ing CatskiU Center for Photography exhibits, screen- 
ings, lectures, workshops; articles on significant con- 
temporary' & historical issues in photography and film. 
(914) 679-9957, NY. 

• PRACTICAL A V/ VIDEO BUDGETING: By 

Richard E. Van Deusen, shows how 5 types of cost 
allocation systems allocate both indirect costs (salaries, 
rent & other overhead) & direct costs (payments made 
directly to outside suppliers) & how these costs are us- 



ON-LINE 



LOW COST VIOeO SERVICES FOR THE MEDIA ARTS 

• Computerized % inch, 1 inch, Betacam and interformat editing • Digital video 
effects and Paint Box • Transfers • Duplication • Complete audio services. 

Independent producers and non-profit media arts organizations can now utilize facilities 

at Reeves Teletape, LRP Video, The Sound Shop, and Broadway Video in NYC, and 

Upstate Production Services in Rochester, NY through the ON-LINE program. 

Consultants are available, free of charge to ON-LINE clients, through the Media Alliance 

Post-Production Consultation Service Fund. 

For further information and applications contact: 
The Media Alliance c/oWNET • 356 W. 58th St., NY, NY 10019 • (212)560-2919. 



ed. $34.95. 168 pp. Knowledge Industry Publications, 
701 Westchester Ave., White Plains, NY 10604. 

• CPB PUBLIC A TION ON EDUCA TION & TEL- 
ECOMMUNICATIONS: Guidelines for the Design, 
Production, Development & Use of a Telecommunica- 
tions Program in Schools. Curriculum & school adop- 
tion theory intended for professionals who make & ex- 
ecute decisions that affect school curricula. $5.00 (no 
charge to public broadcasting entities). (202) 955-5 166, 
DC. 

• B.S.P: Belgian independent bimonthly magazine 
on non-conventional music. Encourages isolated gen- 
uine initiatives, national or international, in jazz, rock, 
ethnic/traditional music, improvised/contem- 
porary/intuitive music, new music, etc. Alain Croi- 
bien, ll, rue de l'Ecole, 40501 Strivay, Belgium. 



Resources • Funds 

• ROBERT F. WAGNER LABOR ARCHIVES: 
Open to all students, trade unionists, scholars & others 
w/need to use collections. Includes pamphlets, 
leaflets, minutes, newspapers & newsletters, legal files, 
correspondence, internal documents, contracts, pho- 
tographs, & other material issued by trade unions & 
related organizations. Elmer Holmes Bobst Library, 
NYU, 70 Washington Sq. S., NYC 10003, (212) 
598-3709. 

• SOCIETY FOR CINEMA STUDIES: 700 

members, from US, Canada & foreign countries; in- 
cludes distinguished scholars & educators in field of 
film & television. Journal, conference awards. For ap- 
plication, write: Janet Staiger, Dept. of Cinema 
Studies, NYU, NYC 10003. 

• POSTPRODUCTION CONSULTING: All as- 
pects of 16mm or 35mm film. Experienced in solving 
problems dealing w/opticals, lab procedures, editing, 
archival footage, soundtracks. Also available to cut 
A&B rolls. Steve, (718) 62^4142, NY. 

• AUDIOCASSETTE TAPES OF FILM FINANC- 
ING SEMINAR: Executives explore trends at L.A. 
meeting, including details of contracts, negotiations, 
profit margins & film costs. $195. Paul Kagan, PK 
Services Corp., 126 Clock Tower Place, Carmel, CA 
93923,(408)624-1536. 

• INDIEFEX: Quality sound effects & affordable 
prices. 949 Amsterdam Ave, #4N, NYC 10025, (212) 
678-7989. 

• KEY LIGHT PRODUCTIONS: Complete produc- 
tion services from project development & shooting 
through editing. Full support staff, including field pro- 
ducers, writers, researchers, pa's & broadcast location 
crew. Beth, (212) 581-9748, NY. 

• OPEN CHANNELS AT THE LONG BEACH 
MUSEUM: Pilot program supporting outstanding 
video productions by California artists & independent 
producers. Interested artists should submit a one-page 
typewritten treatment of their project, resume & sam- 
ple recent work before April 1 . Connie Fitzsimmons, 
(213)439-2119, CA. 

• FILM PLANNING ASSOCIATES: 10% discount 
to AIVF members on titles, slide-to-film transfer and 
animation photography. Film Planning Associates, 38 
E. 20th St., NYC 10003, (212) 260-7140. 



34 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1985 



• CHECKERBOARD FOUNDATION VIDEO 

GRANT: $5000 grant to NY State video artist. Funds 
must be used for postproduction purposes. Deadline: 
March 31. Columbus Circle Station, Box 20416, NYC 
10023. 

• CORPORATION FOR PUBLIC BROADCAST- 
ING PROGRAM FUND: Open solicitation for pro- 
posals from independent producers for development & 
production of programs for public television in 3 
areas: news & public affairs, cultural & children's, 
drama & arts. Deadline for submission: April 19 & 
Sept. 6. CPB Program Fund, 1111 16th St. N.W., 
Washington, DC 20036, (202) 293-6160. 

• CPB MINORITIES'/ WOMEN'S GRADUATE 
FELLOWSHIPS: Applications for 1985-1986, Public 
Broadcast Management at Ohio University are being 
accepted. 1-yr. master's degree program in telecom- 
munications management. Fellowships include 
$10,000 stipend plus tuition for 4 academic quarters. 
Ohio Univ. also awards associateships of $5000 under 
the program. Deadline: March 1, 1985. Dr. Charles 
Clift, Graduate Coordinator, School of Telecom- 
munications, RTVC 253B, Ohio University, Athens, 
OH 45701, (614) 594-6036. 



Trims • Glitches 



• CONGRATULATIONS TO: AIVF members 
whose projects were selected for funding by the Film 
Fund. How to Prevent a Nuclear War, by Liane Bran- 
don, $2000; When the Waters Rise, by Jeffrey Chester, 
$1500; Crossing Borders, by Barbara Laing, $7000; 
Dr. Charlie Clements, by Deborah Shaffer, $5000; Far 
from Poland, by Jill Godmillow, $10,000; / Be Done 
Been Was Is, by Debra Robinson, $5000; It's a Hit, by 
Karen Lehman, $3500; A Video Potrait of Doris 
Chase, by Robin Schanzenbach, $2500; Rated X,by 
Lucy Winer, $8000; Stephanie, by Peggy Stern, $3500; 
Take Back the Night, by Meri Weingarten, $3500; 
Adopted Son: The Murder of Vincent Chin, by Renee 
E. Tajima, $7000. 

• CPB OPEN SOLICITATIONS: First round 1985, 
18 projects selected for funding by Program Fund of 
CPB ( 1 2 independent projects & 6 public television sta- 
tion productions): Charlotte Forten's Mission, Past 
American, Miami FL; Electric Spell, Tatge Produc- 
tions/WNET, NYC; About Tap, Folk Traditions, 
NYC; Doctor Death, Third Floor Productions, NYC; 
Langston Hughes, New York Center for Visual 
History, NYC; The Hidden Minority, WQED, Pitts- 
burgh, PA; Miles Ahead: A Salute to Miles Davis, 
WNET-TV, NYC; Storme: A Life in the Jewel Box, 
Eye of the Storm Productions, DC; Beirut: The Last 
Home Movie, Zohe Film Productions, NYC; Fortieth 
Anniversary — Hiroshima/Nagasaki Bomb Attack, 
KCTS/York/Wiley Productions, DC; Central 
America and the Caribbean: Roots of the Crisis, 
Blackwell Corp., Reston, VA/WGBH, Boston; Owl 
TV, National Audubon Society Productions, DC; 
Latin America: The Turning Point, Latin American 
Project, NYC; International TV Revue, ETV Endow- 
ment of S. Carolina, Columbia, SC; The Mark Twain 
Series: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Great 
Amwell Co., NYC. 

• CONGRATULATIONS TO: AIVF member 
Michael Marton, on receiving first prize in the Golden 
Ring, a sports program competition held in Lausanne, 



Switzerland for his documentary, Watch Me Now, a 
profile of Cus D' Amato's boxing gym in the Catskills. 

• CONGRATULATIONS TO: AIVF members 
Richard Schmiechen and Robert Epstein whose film 
The Times of Harvey Milk was voted best documen- 
tary of 1984 by the New York Film Critics Circle. 

• CONGRATULATIONS TO: AIVF member 
George Corsetti for winning an NEA/AFI regional 
fellowship for his videotape Poletown Lives!. 



■ ERRATUM 

In the "Resources/Funds" section of the "No- 
tices" column in our January/February issue (p. 
67), we erroneously wrote that New York State 
residents are eligible for the New England 
Film/ Video Regional Fellowship Program. 
They are not. We apologize for any inconve- 
nience this may have caused. 



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MARCH 1985 



THE INDEPENDENT 35 



■ MEMORANDA 



FILIPINO FILMMAKERS 
ARRESTED 

Filipino film directors Lino Brocka and Behn 
Cervantes were arrested on January 28 at a jitney 
drivers' demonstration in Manila, according to 
Ninotchka Rosea of the Filipino Writers in 
North America. The two were charged with il- 
legal assembly and subversion under Presidential 
Decree 1 834; the maximum punishment is death. 
Brocka and Cervantes had been asked by the 
Association of Concerned Transport Operators, 
the drivers' union, to participate in negotiations 
with the police, who had been trying to prevent 
the rally from taking place. 

Brocka is best known in this country for his 
films Bona and My Country, which won the 
1984 London Film Festival award for best for- 
eign film. Cervantes is primarily a stage director, 
and produced the feature film Fagada. 

The Filipino Writers in North America asks 
members of the film community to call for the 
filmmakers' release by writing to the local Phil- 
ippine consulate; to President Ferdinand Mar- 
cos, Malacanang Palace, Manila, Philippines; or 
to Juan Ponce Enrile, Minister of Defense, 
Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, Philippines. 



SOMETHING FOR 
(ALMOST) NOTHING 

AIVF is pleased to be the recipient of an in-kind 
donation of 600 copies of the 1984 Producer's 
Xfasterguide from publisher Shmuel Bension. 
This 770-page manual contains extensive current 
information on areas of the film and television 
industry such as unions, labs, postproduction 
facilities, video facilities, agents, production 
companies, accountants, personnel, service or- 
ganizations, and more. .Twenty states are cov- 
ered, as well as the Virgin Islands, Canada, and 
the United Kingdom. The guide retails for about 
$80.00. 

AIVF will send you this valuable production 
resource for a SI 0.00 shipping and handling fee 
(limit: one book per member). We will send the 
four-lb. book to you via UPS. 

Send your check to AIVF, Masterguide, 625 
Broadway, 9th floor, New York, NY 10012 by 
Feb. 1, 1985. Recipients of the Masterguide will 
then be selected by lottery so that all members 
have an equal chance. (Should we run out, 
checks will be returned promptly.) 



FIVF THANKS. . . 

Prescott Jennings III, Glen Head, NY, for his 
generous donation. 



HELP WANTED 

AIVF needs volunteers to videotape the 10th 
Anniversary Celebration to be held June 4 at the 
Museum of Modern Art (see below). AIVF will 
provide tape; volunteers should supply their own 
equipment. If interested, contact: Lawrence 
Sapadin, AIVF, (212) 473-3400. 

FIRST CLASS 
SERVICE 

Add S10 to regular annual membership fee, and 
you'll get The Independent via first class 
mail — in time for every deadline. Send your 
check or money order to FIVF, 625 Broadway, 
New York, NY 10012. 




Plans for the 10th Anniversary Celebration are in full 

swing. Mark June 4, 1985 on your calendar. That's 

the day when AIVF members, supporters and friends 

will gather to mark this milestone in our history. The 

presentation of the INDIE Awards and the premiere 

screening of a compilation tape of members' work will 

take place at the Museum of Modern Art in New York 

City, followed by a dance at another location. 

Watch your mailbox for more details. 



Thanks to the AIVF members who took out congratulations ads in our 10th Anniversary issue of 

The Independent. The special 70-page issue would not have been possible without your support, ^k 



36 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1985 



The Suffolk County 

Motion Picture and 

Television Commission 

presents 



SUFFOLK 

COUNTY 

FILM & VIDEO 

COMPETITION 

Call for Entries 

for 

1984-1985 



Entry Forms: 

SUFFOLK COUNTY 

MOTION PICTURE/TV 

COMMISSION 

Office of Economic Development 

4175 Veterans Highway 

Ronkonkoma, L.L, NY 11779 

516-588-1000 



American Independent 
Fil m & Video Serie s 

Now on Videocassette 



New Video is pleased to introduce a unique and exciting series of works produced by an extraordinary 
group of independent film and video artists. The tapes are available for rental and sale in both Beta and 
VHS. Included in the series are the following artists. 



MAXALMY 


CECELIA C0N01T 


DOUG HALL 


AMOSPOE 


ROBERT ASHLEY 


MERCE CUNNINGHAM 


PAT HEARN 


YVONNE RAINER 


CHARLES ATLAS 


EMILE de ANTONIO 


KEN JACOBS 


MARK RAPPAPORT 


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EftJC MITCHELL 


ROBERT WILSON 


:■ 


,_ 


MICHAEL OBLOwrrz 


^ 



MAIL ORDER The tapes available by 
mail order are for sale only $45 to 
S75 (Rentals available only at New 
Video stores) A complete catalogue 
of the Independent Film & Video 
Series is featured in the new issue of 
New Video Magazine available free 
at New Video stores or send S2 to 
90 University Place. NYC 10003 
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APRIL 1985 



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FILM & VIDEO MONTHLY 



INDEPENDENI" 



APRIL 1985 

VOLUME 8, NUMBER 3 



Publisher: 

Editor: 

Associate Editors: 

Contributing Editors: 



Art Director: 
Advertising: 

Distributor: 



Typesetting: 
Printer: 



Lawrence Sapadin 
Martha Gever 
Susan Linfield 
Renee Tajima 
Robert Aaronson 
Bob Brodsky 
Deborah Erickson 
Debra Goldman 
Mary Guzzy 
Fenton Johnson 
David Leitner 
Toni Treadway 
Bethany Eden 
Jacobson 
Barbara Spence; 
Marionette, Inc. 
(718-773-9869) 
Bernhard DeBoer 
113 E. Center St., 
Nutley NJ 07110 
Skeezo Typography 
PetCap Press 



The Independent is published ten times year- 
ly by the Foundation for Independent Video 
and Film, Inc. (FIVF), 625 Broadway, 9th Floor, 
New York, NY 10012, (212-473-3400). a not- 
for-profit, tax-exempt educational foundation 
dedicated to the promotion of video and 
film, and by the Association of Independent 
Video and Filmmakers, Inc. (AIVF), the na- 
tional trade association of independent pro- 
ducers and individuals involved in indepen- 
dent video and film. Subscription is included 
with membership in AIVF. Together, FIVF and 
AIVF provide a broad range of educational 
and professional services for independents 
and the general public. Publication of The 
Independent is made possible in part with 
public funds from the New York State Council 
on the Arts and the National Endowment for 
the Arts, a federal agency. 

The Independent welcomes unsolicited 
manuscripts. Manuscripts cannot be returned 
unless a stamped, self-addressed envelope is 
included. No responsibility is assumed for loss 
or damage. 

Letters to The Independent should be ad- 
dressed to the editor. Letters may be edited 
for length. 

All contents are copyright of the Founda- 
tion for Independent Video and Film, Inc., ex- 
cept where otherwise noted. Reprints require 
written permission and acknowledgement of 
the article's previous appearance in The 
Independent. ISSN 0731-5198. 

©Foundation for Independent Video and Film, Inc. 
1985 

AIVF/FIVF STAFF MEMBERS: Lawrence Sapadin. 
executive director, Robert Aaronson, festival direc- 
tor; Deborah Erickson, administrative assistant; An- 
drea Estepa, membership services; Debra Goldman, 
screenings & seminars; Mary Guzzy, administrative 
director; Sol Horwitz, Short Film Showcase project ad- 
ministrator; Susan Linfield, Short Film Showcase ad- 
ministrative assistant. 

AIVF/FIVF BOARDS OF DIRECTORS: Robert Richter, 
president; William Greaves, vice president; Lillian 
Jimenez, chair; Barton Weiss, secretary; Pearl Bowser; 
St. Clair Bourne; Christine Choy; Loni Ding, Peter 
Kinoy; Howard Petrick Lawrence Sapadin (ex of- 
ficio); Richard Schmiechen. 



CONTENTS 

FEATURES 

12 Speculations: Narrative Video by Women 

by Helen DeMichiel 

15 Freedom of Information Acts: Radb Venceremos Film Collective 

byJaneOeighton 



2 MEDIA CLIPS 

The High Cost of Giving 

by Debra Goldman 

Minneapolis' Independent Cable Hook-up 
Libraries in the Video Age 

Mass. Produced Media 

by Renee Tajima 

6 LETTERS 

8 FIELD REPORT 

Reelpolitik Promoting Alternatives Conference 
by Renee Tajima 

lO IN FOCUS 

Film-to-Tape: Choosing a Transfer Element 

by David Leitner 

20 BOOK REVIEW 

Information and the Crisis Economy 

reviewed by Martha Gever 



21 SUMMARY OF AIVF BOARD MEETING 
23 FESTIVALS 

Margaret Mead Film Festival 

by Robert Aaronson 

San Francisco Lesbian and Gay Festivals 

by Fran Christie 

Locarno Film Festival 

by Jacqueline Leger 

In Brief 

28 IN AND OUT OF PRODUCTION 

by Mary Guzzy with Deborah Erickson 

30 NOTICES 

36 MEMORANDA 




COVER: 

Wars are fought with guns-and information, whether conveyed through word-of-mouth, books, 
newspapers, posters, radio broadcasts, films, or videotapes. Jane Creighton's article. "Freedom 
of Information Acts," examines the history, achievements, and goals of El Salvador's insurgent 
filmmakers, the Radio Venceremos Film Collective. 

Photo El Salvador Film and Video 

THE INDEPENDENT 1 



MEDIA CLIPS 



THE HIGH COST OF GIVING 



Every year, the Internal Revenue Service fiddles 
with the tax system, introducing new deductions 
while disallowing others. In the last 12 months, 
however, talk has been about tax revision, a 
complete rethinking of the system we've learned 
to live with, if not love. In Congress, the leading 
Democratic and Republican tax reform bills are 
each co-sponsored by "presidential hopefuls," 
Bill Bradley and Jack Kemp. But it was when the 
Treasury Department presented its own plan for 
simplifying taxes that speculation about reform 
turned serious — and, for the nation's non-profit 
sector, worrisome. For one of the unique fea- 
tures of the Administration's proposal is a pro- 
posed cutback in the deductions allowed for 
charitable giving. 

The Treasury Department proposal collapses 
the 13 current graduated tax rates, which range 
from 1 1 percent to 50 percent, into three rates: 1 5 
percent, 25 percent and 35 percent. To compen- 
sate for lowering the top rate, the proposal seeks 
to limit deductions and exemptions. These twin 
aspects of reform make it "revenue neutral": it 
will supposedly neither raise -tior lower the 
amount of money collected. However, the pro- 
posal acknowledges what the general public has 
long known: the wealthy are officially obligated 
to turn over 50 percent of their incomes to Uncle 
Sam, but never do. They have the disposable in- 
come to buy tax deductions and exemptions and 
thus lower their tax liability. Should tax reform 
succeed, its proponents say, the rich will be taxed 
at a lower rate, but they will at least have to pay 
that rate. 

Although tax reform would supposedly mean 
little to individual taxpayers, it would have a 
huge impact on those institutions, industries, 
and businesses that depend on the dollars tax 
deductions send their way. Prominent among 
them are charitable institutions, which have 
benefitted from charitable deductions since 
1917. A study commissioned by Independent 
Sector, an umbrella organization representing 
595 non-profit associations, philanthropies, and 
fundraising organizations, found that the 
Treasury proposal, simply by lowering the top 
tax rate and thus reducing the incentive to give, 
will cost charities $6-billion to $7-billion per year. 
Additional limits on charitable deductions will 
amount to another $5-billion in lost contribu- 
tions. It seems inconsistent for the Administra- 
tion to call on private charities to take up the 
slack created by gutted entitlement programs on 
the one hand and then attack those charities' 
sources of revenue on the other. But consistency 
is obviously not a big factor in President 
Reagan's appeal to the electorate. 

The proposed changes in allowable charitable 

2 THE INDEPENDENT 



deductions that worry non-profits are the fol- 
lowing: 

From their total contributions, donors will be 
able to deduct only the portion that exceeds two 
percent of their adjusted gross income. The aver- 
age taxpayer's donations now equal 1.97 per- 
cent. 

The right of non-itemizing taxpayers to de- 
duct charitable gifts, which became law in 1982, 
will be eliminated. The majority of taxpayers do 
not itemize. 

Deductions of gifts of property will be limited 
to the owner's original cost, plus inflation. At 
present donors can deduct such gifts at their cur- 
rent market value. The exception is those cases in 
which current market value is /owerthan original 
cost. 

Alarmed non-profit groups are striking back 
by mounting a letter-writing campaign aimed at 
the White House. The United Way of America 
(the Exxon of the charitable world) has mobilized 
its 2,200 affiliates and the 37,000 agencies it serves; 
and the result, reports Julee Kryder-Coe, assistant 
director of government relations for Independent 
Sector, is "a lot of mail. We have heard reports 
that the President is at least reconsidering the two 
percent floor, and he may drop that provision 
before the proposal reaches Congress." 

Among arts institutions, however, it is the 
provision reducing the tax value of gifts of pro- 
perty that strikes a nerve. Cultural institutions 
are among the major recipients of such gifts, 
which include stocks, real estate, and paintings 
among the financial vehicles. "Its effects would 
burden arts organizations and universities 
disproportionately to other groups dependent 
on charitable contributions," Anne Murphy, ex- 
ecutive director of American Arts Alliance, 
warned organization members in a December 
memo. 

Tax reform fever comes just when arts organ- 
izations are geting zapped in that other fiscal 
war, the battle of the budget. The White House 
has already announced its intention to cut funds 
for the National Endowment for the Arts [see 
"Media Clips," The Independent, March 1985]. 
Another program under fire is the Postal 
Revenue Foregone Subsidy, which Congress 
provides to make up the difference between what 
non-profits pay for third-class bulk mail and 
what such mailings actually cost. In 1985, after 
the February postal rate hike, this subsidy will 
amount to $981 -million; the Administration 
wants to eliminate it for all groups except li- 
braries and organizations for the blind. Accord- 
ing to Lee Kessler, AAA deputy director, this 
cutback will hit arts organizations harder than 
other charitable groups. "Most charities use 



third-class mail to fundraise. But our groups use 
it both to fundraise and to communicate with the 
community. They use it to publicize their pro- 
grams, which are an important source of earned 
income." Should the Reagan Administration 
have its way, Kessler claims, the cost of such 
publicity will more than double. 

These imminent threats dictate an immediate 
response: fight the budget cuts and changes in 
charitable deductions. On the tax issue, at least, 
non-profits will be happy to learn that their posi- 
tion is a popular one. No less an authority than a 
New York Times/CBS poll reports that 8 1 per- 
cent of respondees favor retention of deductions 
for giving. Non-profit groups, thus far the vic- 
tims of the Reagan ethos, are for once in sync 
with the national mood. According to the get- 
the-government-off-our-backs school, private 
giving should be encouraged; it's the democratic 
way to let individuals, voting with their dollars, 
decide what causes are worthy, without in- 
terference from bureaucrats, panels of experts, 
and noisy constituencies asserting their right to 
be funded. This popular sentiment may save 
charitable deductions when Congress considers 
tax reform proposals. 

But it is an accurate sentiment? In Patrons 
Despite Themselves: Taxpayers and Arts Policy, 
a Twentieth Century Fund study published in 
1983, authors Alan L. Feld, Michael O'Hare, 
and J.M.D. Schuster conclude that in respect to 
arts institutions, giving reinforces elitism rather 
than democracy. They employ a labyrinth of 
charts and diagrams to support their claim that 
cultural institutions depend more on the well-to- 
do than any other charity except education. (By 
contrast, religious charities are supported 
primarily by low income groups.) High income 
households also account for 76 percent of the 
money donated to arts institutions. This power is 
reflected on the boards of these organizations, 
whose members are overwhelmingly white, 
male, Protestant, and rich. 

The report goes on to insist that all this money 
represents not only private money, but indirect- 
ly, public money as well. This indirect public 
subsidy, the study argues, is revenue the govern- 
ment does not collect on dollars donated to char- 
ity. Thus, the authors conclude, the rich exercise 
disproportionate discretion over where and how 
"public money" for the arts is spent. And how is 
it spent? Not on media projects, as any producer 
who has turned to private foundations can tell 
you. Instead, most big gifts find expression in real 
estate: hospital pavilions, new buildings on cam- 
pus, museum wings (or even whole museums: wit- 
ness the Getty Museum in Southern California). 

Don't expect the argument in Patrons Despite 

APRIL 1985 



Themselves to figure much in the current debate 
over charitable deductions. The book's recom- 
mendation that deduction rules be changed to 
give public arts agencies more say over these in- 
direct subsidies was probably beyond the bounds 
of political reality when it was written; it certain- 
ly is now. At the moment, arts groups and other 
non-profits have their hands full simply 
forestalling the further impoverishment of the 
non-profit sector. Those white, male, well-do-do 
board members who oversee arts institutions 
want the deductions preserved. That's politics in 
the age of Reagan. — Debra Goldman 

MINNEAPOLIS' INDEPENDENT 
CABLE HOOK-UP 

The average television professional, if offered 
$46,000 to put together 27 hours of progamming 
each week for 12 months, would treat the pros- 
pect as a joke. But the Minneapolis media 
center UCVideo is doing just that: filling prime 
time and Saturday morning hours on public ac- 
cess Channel 12 of the city's Rogers Cablesystem 
franchise. Contracted by the Minneapolis Tele- 
communications Network, the city council- 
appointed body that oversees access activities in 
the partially-built, year-and-a-half-old system, 
UCV has been acquiring programming and 
sending it down the wire to Rogers's 35,000 
subscribers since last September. 

Tom Borrup, UCV's executive director, 
credits the center's prominent role in cable to the 
"solid profile" the organization maintained dur- 
ing the franchising process. "I was down at city 
hall more hours than I like to remember," he 
said. UCV's efforts were a major force behind 
the creation of MTN, and when the^able com- 
pany first offered money to MTN, Borrup con- 
jectured that "they felt they owed us some- 
thing." And once the city-run corporation 
decided not to let the public access channel lie 
fallow while waiting for access studios to be 
built, it also needed the resources of the media 
center. "MTN is already a year old, and they still 
have only one administrative staff person. It 
would have taken them forever to gear up for a 
project like this. We did it in two months," said 
Borrup. 

Although UCV is committed to providing 
programming that serves all sectors of the com- 
munity, the channel is not a "classic" public ac- 
cess outlet operating on a first-come, first-served 
basis. "I very much decide what to put on and 
what not," explained Neil Seiling, who heads 
UCV's exhibition programming. "I've refused 
half the stuff I've seen. The point is to get people 
used to tuning in to the channel." For that, the 
public access station is in the right spot: cable 
subscribers inevitably come across it as they flip 
through the VHF part of the dial sampling 
broadcast fare. 

A bit more than half of Channel 12's pro- 



IT PAYS TO SWITCH 



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gramming is locally produced. In the early i 
months, the center relied on material from its 
own archive, which is stocked with black-and- 
white tapes produced at the University of Min- 
nesota from 1974-77. Local artists who screen their 
work on-site at UCV now appear on cable as 
well, and established producers from the older 
suburban cable systems are additional reliable 
program suppliers. Twin Cities Kids Pro- 
Wrestling is one of Seiling's favorites among 
locally produced shows. An unwitting homage 
to Roland Barthes, the show, according to Sell- 
ing, is a "neat kind of deconstruction of pro- 
fessional wrestling. It's amazing: the kids know 
how wrestlers take punches and how they beat 
each other up without getting hurt." 

The remaining air time is filled with work pro- 
duced outside the city. Last fall, Shared 
Realities, the Long Beach Museum video art 
series, had its midwestern cable debut on the 
channel. Thus far, however, two acquired public 
access series — Paper Tiger from New York and 
Alternative Views from Austin, Texas — have 
aroused the most comment. After the cablecast 
of Paper Tiger segment "Joan Braderman Reads 
the National Enquirer " one irate viewer dashed 
off an indignant letter to MTN, complaining he 
had counted "41 f-words" in the show. While this 
raised a few eyebrows at the politically sensitive 
city-run corporation, Seiling is not immediately 
apprehensive about censorship pressures. Most of 
the mail UCV and MTN receive is appreciative 
and positive, and its volume is increasing. 

Of the $46,000 in the budget, $10,000-$15,000 
is devoted to acquisition. Payments for pro- 
gramming average a very round — and low — one 
dollar per minute. "I feel sort of apologetic 
about how little we pay for tapes," said Seiling. 
"But a lot of these producers say no one else pays 
anything for them." A large portion of MTN- 
supplied funds covers packaging costs (basic 
editing, dubbing, labeling, and delivery), and 
Seiling tries to compensate by sharing a little of 
that wealth with producers. "For example, we 
have a film chain. If someone sends me some- 
thing that I can use, I can give them a tape trans- 
fer as part of the deal." 

Although assignment of the channel to UCV's 
management was originally intended as a tem- 
porary' measure, chances are good that the ar- 
rangement will be renewed, although perhaps on 
different terms. Bottom-line blues at Rogers's 
Toronto-based headquarters have diminished its 
formerly staunch commitment to access and 
local origination [see The Independent, October 
1984]. In the Twin Cities suburbs, where Rogers 
owns contiguous systems, several access studios 
are shutting down, and there are rumblings that 
the operator wants to trim its access commitment 
within Minneapolis as well. "MTN received 
S800,000 in 1985," said Borrup, "which is not 
much, considering they are responsible for 
public access, government access, educational 
access, everything. Next year I believe the com- 
pany wants to cut that to $500,000." Instead of 



THE INDEPENDENT 



creating five access studios in various city neigh- 
borhoods as promised in the franchise agree- 
ment, Rogers reportedly now wants to build one, 
large, centralized center. The diminished 
availability of production resources may slow 
Channel 12's transformation into "true" public 
access. "It's not easy being caught between the 
city's bureaucracy and the company's bur- 
eaucracy," Borrup admitted. "I do hope the 
contract will be renewed, but we would not han- 
dle the same amount of programming for the 
same amount of money." Along with reducing 
hours, both Borrup and Seiling would like to 
narrow their focus, concentrating more on arts 
programming and work by local independents. 
To Borrup, the past seven months prove this 
kind of three-way "partnership" between cable 
company, city, and non-profit media center, 
however precarious, can be "an incredibly cost- 
effective way for cable companies to program 
their channels. I would encourage the creation of 
similar arrangements with universities, public 
schools, hospitals, all kinds of institutions." Too 
bad this cost efficiency is in part bought with the 
money producers are not earning for their work. 
And too bad so few cable companies are willing 
to make even this small investment in the com- 
munities they serve. — DG 



LIBRARIES IN THE VIDEO AGE 

As independent producers and their distributors 
know, the halcyon days of the educational 
market are over. The market grew fat on a 
substantial diet of federal funds in the late fifties 
and early sixties, but the withdrawal of such sup- 
port in the last decade has shrunk the budgets of 
buyers and wreaked financial havoc among their 
suppliers. Recently, however, one segment of 
this market, public libraries, has been making a 
comeback, thanks to home video. 

"Home video is the fastest-growing new pro- 
gram that exists in public libraries today," 
declared Shirley Mills-Fischer, executive director 
of the Public Library Association, a division of 
the American Library Association. "Home 
video is a relatively inexpensive program to get 
into and to manage. The purchase and care of 
films can be relatively expensive and only the 
larger libraries can afford it. But almost any li- 
brary can cope with cassettes." And the small in- 
vestment home cassette collections require will 
keep paying off: the videocassette market is ex- 
panding at rates of which most MBAs only 
dream. Finally, because a growing number of li- 
braries charge "handling fees" for cassette bor- 
rowing, such programs pay for themselves, at 
the very least. A few libraries, Mills-Fischer 
reported, are even getting into the business of 
purchasing VCRs for loan. 

What kind of films will your library card get 
you? Thus far, Libraries offer the same Holly- 
wood features that you can rent from the aver- 

APRIL1985 



age video store. It is precisely the lure of "the 
movies" which has generated so much enthu- 
siasm among librarians: movies on cassette bring 
people into libraries. Michael Miller, former 
head of media services for New York State's 
Mid-Hudson Library system, said, "We found 
that the people who came in to borrow cassettes 
were people who never came to the library 
before." 

This stream of new users shows up in increased 
year-end circulation figures — important when it's 
time to vote on the municipal budget. "Say 
there's some sleepy library in a community in 
which 20 percent of the people have library 
cards," Miller explained. "That's not very 
much. If you can boost that figure to 40 percent 
or 50 percent, there is justification for greater 
fiscal support. Home video is an easy area in 
which to build happy taxpayers." 

"Circulation is like productivity," observed 
Marie Nesthus, principal video librarian at the 
Donnell Public Library in New York City. Nes- 
thus's own policy is to not bring Hollywood 
films into the Donnell collection, "even though I 
know we could quintuple our circulation if we 
did." She readily admitted, however, that the 
Donnell, located in the heart of Manhattan, is 
privileged. The city hosts a sufficiently large 
"sophisticated audience" to ensure "a small but 
steady circulation" for independent works. And 
because New York City is a major production 
center, Donnell media staff can stay in touch 
with the still relatively esoteric world of in- 
dependent video; according to Nesthus, a num- 
ber of tapes in the Donnell collection were ac- 
quired directly from the artists themselves. By 
contrast, Miller noted that in many small towns, 
librarians only "know as much as anyone else 
who walks though the [video store] door," and, 
initially at least, purchase the same familiar 
features that attract the typical consumer. 

"Circulation is only one measure of output," 
said Mills-Fischer, "and it should be seen as one 
of many factors. Nevertheless, it is a psycholog- 
ical, political tool, and it is a powerful one." But 
the question remains: is it appropriate for 
libraries to serve as publicly supported video 
stores? (Lending out cassettes represents a much 
more direct competition to video retailers, who 
depend on rentals for income, than book lending 
does to bookstores.) "Are you going to serve the 
wants, needs, and demands of the community 
that supports you?" Mills-Fischer asked rhetor- 
ically. "Or are you going to have a collection of 
materials that the librarian has decided are in the 
interests of the community?" Most of the new 
home video programs are obviously guided by the 
former, consumer-demand approach. 

What do film and videomakers who sell and 
rent 16mm prints and V* " cassettes — at much 
higher prices than mass-produced cassettes — have 
to hope or fear from the growing presence of home 
video in the libraries? Are cassette acquisitions 
stealing dollars from films that serve the "tradi- 
tional" educational market, as represented by 
APRIL 1985 



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the Educational Film Library Association's an- 
nual film festival? Not really, asserts Miller, who 
serves on EFLA's board. For the library buyers 
who come to EFLA's event represent larger ur- 
ban libraries and regional centers, which pur- 
chase media for use by smaller libraries with 
limited audiovisual budgets. Home video is hav- 
ing its biggest impact on smaller, local libraries 
that do not have the money for film collections, 
lack sizable screening facilities or large screens, 
and have not been heavy users of visual media in 
the past. 

By encouraging the broader use of visual 
media in the libraries, Miller believes that home 
video will be a boon to independents. If, through 
Vi " cassettes, "independents can get into the 
same distribution stream as Hollywood, they will 
be seen by people who've never known about 
them before." His experience in the Mid- 
Hudson system bore this out. "Initially, the in- 
dependent works in our collection sat there on a 
shelf. But after a year or so, they began to cir- 
culate." Miller conjectured, "The viewing pat- 
terns of VCR buyers were voracious. They'd 
keep coming back for more and more tapes. It 
seemed that once people ran out of well-known 
features, they started to experiment." Perhaps 
the greater casualness of at-home cassette view- 
ing encourages a little risk-taking, particularly in 
users who, for whatever reason, prefer to get 
their cassettes from the local library rather than 
the local video store. 

Marilyn Levin, EFLA's executive director, 
agreed that "documentary filmmakers shouldn't 
feel any more threatened by Holly-wood now 
than before. There are still reasons why 
librarians are interested in documentary and in- 
structional films. If an organization like the 
League of Women Voters comes looking for a 
film, they don't want to see Animal House. It's 
not an either/or situation." Like Miller, Levin 
thinks that home video offers the "potential for 
a lot more films to reach a much wider 
audience." 

Home video is without doubt changing the 
educational market, whether through schools il- 
legally taping films from cable television or 
libraries renting out videocassettes. There are 
few sectors of the educational market which are 
so financially secure that the relative inexpen- 
siveness of home video has no allure. The ques- 
tion is whether, by attracting VCR freaks sated 
with Hollywood fare, independents can ride the 
coattails of mass entertainment. — DG 



MASS. PRODUCED MEDIA 

The Massachusetts Council on the Arts is in- 
itiating Mass Productions, a pilot program to 
provide new funding for media artists, according 
to Susan Harnett, director of the contemporary 
arts department. Mass Productions will provide 
up to 530,000 in completion funds for film, 



video, radio and photography projects initiated 
by resident Massachusetts artists. Like many 
other state agencies, the Massachusetts Council 
cannot grant money directly to individuals, but 
artists can apply through tax-exempt organiza- 
tions. Previously, the council channeled money 
through the Artists Foundation, which provided 
fellowships of $2,000-$3,000, reports Harnett. 
Media artists formed an ad hoc coalition and 
lobbied hard for the inclusion of media arts as a 
production funding category. Although the co- 
alition asked for grants for new works, the coun- 
cil will only support works in progress through 
the program. Its already-established New Works 
program has met with grumbling from artists in 
all disciplines because it funds artists from 
throughout the world, with decisions made by 
panels of out-of-state residents. Many artists felt 
that state money should go to state artists, par- 
ticularly in light of the shortage of arts dollars. 
Mass Productions will fund only Massachusetts 
artists. Says coalition member Midge MacKen- 
zie, "We're pleased this funding is in place, and 
our concern is to show this time around that 
there are a sufficient number of quality artists in 
the state to warrant ongoing production funds. " 

— Renee Tajima 



LETTERS 



IMPERFECT ACCESS 

To the editor: 

I would like to respond to Kathleen Hulser's arti- 
cle "Toward an Imperfect Video" [Janu- 
ary/February 1985]. I have been working in 
public access cable television a little over a year 
now, and have five years of broadcast television 
experience. When I look at typical broadcast 
television costs of $500 to $1,000 a minute for 
local production, versus our one dollar per 
minute, I worry about our survival as com- 
munity television. Our public access channel, 
Access Columbus, has just expanded from a 
half- week to a full 24-hour-a-day channel. We 
accept programming in five categories: arts/ 
entertainment, news/public affairs, social serv- 
ice, religion, and sports/health/fitness. Like 
most public access channels around the country, 
our religion category is constantly full (20 per- 
cent of total channel time). What amazes me 
most is the difficulty we have in filling the 
arts/entertainment category. We cannot afford 
to rent programming, yet the community wants 
and needs to see what "alternative television" 
really can be. We are currently examining the 
Public Broadcasting System rules regarding the 
underwriting or sponsoring of programs, which 
we hope will enable producers to offset produc- 
tion costs on this noncommercial channel. 



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APRIL1985 



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The National Alliance of Media Arts Centers 
and other groups manage to get press coverage 
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mentarians can exhibit their work. Meanwhile, 
here we sit waiting, the best "media center" 
available. One hundred sixty-five thousand 
homes are wired for cable in Columbus; where 
are the independent video producers? 

— Michael Langthorne 

Assistant Director, Access Columbus 

Columbus, OH 



JUSTICE FOR ALL 

To the editor: 

"The government is now telling people . . . that it 
is all right to go out and shoot black people." 
These were the impassioned words of the mother 
of the 19-year-old victim of Bernhard Goetz's 
gun. 

On January 25th, one month after Bernhard 
Goetz shot four unarmed black teenagers, a New 
York grand jury exonerated him of any capital 
offense. The grand jury claims that Goetz acted 
in self-defense, even though the Manhattan dis- 
trict attorney asserts that "there is no evidence 
against" the four young men whom Goetz shot. 

As members of the media, what we find really 
shocking about the Goetz case is the media's ex- 
ploitation of New Yorkers' fear of crime, caused 
by a deteriorating standard of living, to turn 
Goetz into a hero and practically announce open 
season on black youth. Even before the grand 
jury met, the media, with the New York Post 
leading the way, had passed its judgment and 
promoted a man with a history of violence and 
bigotry into a symbol of the "answer to our 
prayers" for a safe New York. 

The people of New York have begun to feel 
the effects of robbing our social and human serv- 
ices to feed a bloated military budget. But the 
present media campaign has only served to justi- 
fy people turning their anger and frustration on 
each other instead of their conditions. 

The road to a better, safer life does not lie in 
shooting down unarmed teenagers on the subway. 
We feel the media, and the independent com- 
munity in particular, should be examining the 
ways in which our schools, hospitals, mass tran- 
sit systems, and neighborhoods have been raped 
to build more B-l bombers and Trident sub- 
marines, not to mention "Star Wars" weapons. 
These are the real crimes of our society. 

— Pam Yates, Tom Sigel 

Skylight Pictures 

New York, NY 

— Pearl Bowser, Ada Griffin, 

Chris Choy, Allan Siegel, 

J.T Takagi 

Third World Newsreel 

New York, NY 

APRIL 1985 



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THE INDEPENDENT 7 



REELPOLITIK: 

PROMOTING ALTERNATIVES CONFERENCE 



Renee Tajima 



The rightward trend of the seventies and eighties 
may have sparked as much cultural activist in- 
itiative as it squelched, as evidenced at the recent 
conference, Promoting Alternatives: Grassroots 
Media and Social Change, sponsored by the 
Media Network and the Robert F. Wagner 
Labor Archives last January. Despite the winter 
chill, over 100 people from throughout the east- 
ern U.S. attended the three-day session at New 
York University. 

Media activists have become established and 
pragmatic during this period of retrenchment. 
Many participants at the conference came from 
now-veteran social media organizations or from 
within institutions they have "infiltrated" 
— including public libraries, major universities, 
museums, government agencies, foundations, 
cable companies, and of course, unions large 
and small. 

The conference itself was well-organized (the 
sponsors wisely hired two community organ- 
izers, Karen Zelermeyer and Marcy May, to co- 
ordinate the meeting). It consisted largely of 
workshops and screenings, highlighted by a 
showing of The Times of Harvey Milk, a film 
which may symbolize what, ideally, social 
change media should be: good politics, good 
quality, good reviews — a good organizing tool. 

Posturing on "good politics" was noticeably 
absent from the conference. I sensed a "let a 
hundred flowers bloom" attitude among the 
participants. Folks were more interested in how 
to get the message out, which in itself may be a 
statement of pragmatic politics. Personally, I've 
never seen so many divergent elements of the left 
get along so well. 

Some broad theoretical parameters were of- 
fered by keynote speakers Gil Noble and Julia 
Reichert. Noble, a newscaster at WABC-New 
York and producer of the public affairs program 
Like It Is, spoke pointedly to the absence of 
Black perspectives in the U.S. information hier- 
archy. He defined the contradictions of control 
as racial, with the media squarely in the hands of 
a homogeneous group of white, middle-class 
players: "And so freedom fighters are described 
as terrorists and terrorists described as freedom 
fighters." Noble cited the struggle for civil rights 
as the key to Black participation in the media, in- 
cluding his own hiring at WABC in the sixties. 
He also urged the mostly white audience at the 
conference to take a bit of affirmative action 
themselves — by presenting white America with 
an alternative perspective and involving more 
Black filmmakers in their cause. Reichert, a 
8 THE INDEPENDENT 



founder of the New Day distribution collective 
and co-director of Seeing Red, defined media 
power as a question of class, with corporate 
America pulling the strings. In this scheme, 
media activists are a "counter-hegemonic force, 
nipping away and even blasting away at that con- 
trol." She offered coverage of Central America 
as one contemporary example of media activists' 
role "on the frontline of the battle for ideas." 

The conference included several generations 
of media activists, which underscored the per- 
sistence of certain social problems that have 
spanned generations. Filmmaker Leo Seltzer, a 
veteran of many political struggles, screened 
clips from his remarkable Depression-era Film 
and Photo League newsreels (currently housed 
at the Museum of Modem Art). These films re- 
main powerful documents of social agitation: 
the war veterans' Bonus March, pickets for the 
Scottsboro Boys, labor organizing. The Film 
and Photo League provided visual evidence to 
counter the claim that "normalcy was just 
around the comer." Seltzer remembered, "Back 
then farmers thought city people had all the 
money and city people thought farmers had all 
the food. This was the first time farmers really 
saw that the Depression hit everyone." 

While the Film and Photo League was making 
openly agitational newsreels, Black indepen- 
dents were producing films with social themes 
within the Hollywood genre. According to Third 
World Newsreel programmer Pearl Bowser, "In 
a segregated society these films were directed at a 
Black audience. Given the captive audience that 
was looking for entertainment, they also at- 
tempted to deal with issues in the community." 
Significantly, the same message was repeated 
throughout the conference in a contemporary 
context: expropriate the form and "look" of the 
mainstream to reach broad audiences with your 
message. Gone is the Gang-of-Four-aesthetic 
— today slick is (or can be) correct. "We've pass- 
ed the time when the messages are so important 
that the technical quality doesn't matter," said 
Elizabeth Perez-Luna, an independent radio 
producer from Philadelphia. In a panel on 
broadcast media, Perez-Luna played a sample of 
high-quality tapes made by Third World inde- 
pendents, ranging from oral histories conducted 
by Puerto Rican high school students to a docu- 
mentary on the tenth anniversary of Chilean 
dictator Augosto Pinochet's regime. 

Perhaps the most graphic examples of using 
mainstream disguises to convey alternative social 
messages are in union-produced broadcast 
media, described by Chris Bedford of the 
Organizing Media Project, Mel Stack of the 
United Food and Commercial Workers Interna- 



tional and Cathy Garmezy of the Labor Institute 
for Public Affairs. Unions were perhaps the only 
groups able to afford high production values 
among those represented at the conference, and 
they are competing directly against corporate 
messages. When the Organizing Media Project 
and the UFCW collaborated to produce 
Organizing: The Road to Dignity, directed 
primarily at high school audiences, they used 
athletes from the National Football Players 
Association as spokesmen. When LIPA, the 
AFL-CIO's television production unit, produced 
30-second spots for broadcast television that 
promoted unions, they called the project "Cam- 
paign for America's Future," complete with a 
"flagwaving" tone and a competitive look. 
LIPA also replicated mainstream strategies in 
promotion and distribution — contracting pro- 
fessional media buyers to negotiate for time on 
prime sports, news, and entertainment shows. 

Among the most interesting organizing mod- 
els presented was the Washington, D.C. -based 
Public Interest Video Network. Its New Voices 
project works with non-profits to get messages 
on the air. The emphasis here is on control over 
the material that the press will use, as opposed to 
more passive publicity vehicles like press re- 
leases. Aden Slobodow of PIVN described three 
basic strategies. First, 30-second public service 
announcements are distributed on V* " cassettes. 
For instance, PIVN and the Center on the Con- 
sequences of Nuclear War produced one spot on 
nuclear winter that was promoted to public serv- 
ice directors as "useful information for your 
community." Over 100 stations requested the 
spot, and a two- week run on Cable News Net- 
work generated 2,000 requests for more infor- 
mation. PIVN's second strategy is the produc- 
tion of video background about a particular or- 
ganization for use in press conferences, a visual 
hook for the press that "helps you control how 
your organization is presented," Slobodow said. 
PIVN provided a six-minute tape on nuclear 
war, narrated by Carl Sagan, that was picked up 
by all tne networks and used in its entirety by 
ABC's Nightline. 

Third, PIVN and LIPA are using new tech- 
nologies. Both groups have organized telecon- 
ferences that involve local chapters in nation- 
wide media events that can be picked up by tele- 
casters or watched in groups on closed-circuit 
television. For one teleconference organized by 
the Union of Concerned Scientists, PIVN leased 
time on two satellites to reach cable and public 
television stations. 

Nonbroadcast programmers have also used 
high profile media to build social issue 
audiences. In a panel on audience development, 

APRIL 1985 



-i OF THE I HOTEL 



A FILM WRITTEN AND 
DIRECTED BY CURTIS CHOY 



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Charlotte Sky of the New Community Cinema 
in Huntington, New York, addressed the prob- 
lem of building a suburban audience for social 
issue films. Over the years, NCC has persistently 
cultivated the Huntington audience, "showing 
films that were entertainment and had social 
themes," said Sky. NCC has since evolved from 
weekend showings in a dance studio to a theater 
with an ongoing schedule and 4,000 subscribers. 
Dik Cool, of the Syracuse Cultural Workers 
Project, also combines an art house repertoire 
with independent features, classics, enlightened 
commercial films, and foreign imports. The 
group then promotes these films, such as Milos 
Forman's Ragtime, as social issue programs. 

But the meat and potatoes of social change 
media remains documentary shorts, such as 
Debra Chasnoff and Kim Klausner's Choosing 
Children, a film about lesbian mothers, or Curtis 
Choy's Fall of the I Hotel, a documentary on the 
struggle to save an SRO hotel in San Francisco. 
These films require innovative exhibition con- 
cepts directed at target audiences. Public rela- 
tions guru Peter Sandman noted that one series 
marketed itself as "the only films in town with 
childcare." And Warrington Hudlin said the 
Black Filmmaker Foundation filled the gap in 
independent outlets by going to churches, karate 
schools, community centers, hospitals, discos, 
and vacant lots in the Black community to pre- 
sent its "Dialogue" series. 

Independent producer Tami Gold pointed out 
that this kind of "narrowcasting" could be an 
antidote to the pressure for high profile produc- 
tions. "Perhaps we could have more impact on 
people's lives if we try to reach more specific 
groups of people and not reach for the lowest 
common denominator." She recommends 

APRIL 1985 



cheap production and distribution. Her video 
documentary on organizing nurses, From Bed- 
side to Bargaining Table, co-produced with Lyn 
Goldfarb, is sold for $60 and rented for $30 with 
an option to sell. But the issue of low-cost dis- 
tribution has, historically, been a bone of con- 
tention between producers and activists. At the 
1983 Third World Cinema Conference in New 
York, filmmaker Haile Gerima complained that 
Third World filmmakers are "literally starving 
because progressive groups in the United States 
and Europe show their works for free." 

In a panel on "resource sharing," co- 
moderated by John Demeter of the Star Film Li- 
brary in Boston, which provides low-cost rentals 
to community groups, several videomakers ad- 
vocated a kind of populist distribution based on 
the home cassette market. For instance, Ian Tier- 
man's anti-nuclear The Last Epidemic and Dee 
Dee Halleck's video on North Americans in 
Nicaragua, Waiting for the Invasion, have been 
mass-produced for sale and rental at very low 
cost. Tierman sells his tape for $10 each in quan- 
tities of five. Julia Lesage, an editor of Jump Cut 
and an independent producer, will do the same 
with her series of VHS tapes on Nicaragua. She 
called the "copyability" of videotape a great ad- 
vantage for radical organizing — although a 
number of producers at the conference com- 
plained about pirated videotapes. 

While new technologies and programming 
strategies were discussed, the conference's basic 
concern remained the use of the media in a day- 
to-day organizing context. A participant from 
the Hoboken Action for Nuclear Disarmament 
cautioned against media seduction. The fledgling 
group had showed The Atomic Cafe to raise 
money to help enact an ordinance that would 



"Fall of the I Hotel," shot by 
nine filmmakers over a dec- 
ade, was shown at the Pro- 
moting Alternatives Confer- 
ence as an example of 
media used for tenant 
organizing. 

make the New Jersey town a nuclear-free zone. 
An astounding 400-500 people showed up. Four 
months later, the group showed another film; 
this time, the mayor and city council members 
showed up and committed themselves to the or- 
dinance. "But the drive started to die because no 
one really thought of doing sustained organ- 
izing." More successful models use media in a 
systematic way. Cathy Howell of the Carolina 
Community Project programs films and tapes 
very specifically to build solidarity, to train 
organizers, to anchor a meeting when people are 
insecure about speaking. For example, Howell 
has used Rosie the Riveter successfully in com- 
munications training sessions between Black and 
white women. 

The conference demonstrated that, despite 
the onslaught of eighties conservatism, social 
change media is certainly not dead — and it may 
even be thriving. To a large extent, social issue 
media has become entrenched in our visual dia- 
logue — and some of it is even starting to look 
mainstream. Meanwhile, media activists are in- 
creasingly working within institutions or build- 
ing organizations of their own. True, the move- 
ment has been hard hit by Reaganomics — con- 
ference participants like the Star Film Library, 
Global Village, and Media Network are among 
the many groups that have experienced severe 
funding cuts. But the conferees took the long 
view. Said Leo Seltzer, "The angering thing is 
that the problems of the eighties are starting to 
look like the problems of the thirties, like the 
failure of the federal government to take care of 
the homeless and unemployed workers." The 
encouraging thing is that media activists haven't 
given up the fight. 

©Renee Tajima 1985 

THE INDEPENDENT 9 



IN FOCUS 



FILM-TO-TAPE: CHOOSING A TRANSFER ELEMENT 



David Leitner 



The late twentieth century's penchant for 
miniaturizing and personalizing high technology' 
has caught up with the big screen as, increasing- 
ly, the small screen becomes the centerpiece of 
the "information age," with almost every' video, 
computer, and telecommunications device 
featuring one. So powerful is the role of the 
small screen in our society that no filmmaker can 
choose to ignore it. All roads now lead to \ideo 
distribution. Accordingly, in the interests of im- 
age fidelity, the modem filmmaker ought to look 
beyond the basic requirements of the automated 
magic lantern show that is theatrical distribution 
and give special consideration to the unique re- 
quirements of the film-to-tape process itself. 

This column has previously discussed the 
merits of film-to-tape ["Film-to-Tape: 
Background to a Choice," April 1982] and 
detailed the assortment of film-chains and 
telecines in use ["Film-to-Tape: The Transfer 
Process," May 1982]. Having reached the deci- 
sion to transfer film-to-tape, however, the film- 
maker faces yet another vexing choice: which 
element to transfer? 

Today's 16mm filmmaker typically shoots 
color negative, edits the workprint, conforms 
the original negative for A&B printing, and 
orders an answer print from the lab. In addition, 
if a film's release is imminent, the filmmaker 
orders a duplicate of the original negative — a 
reversal "C.R.I." or a "dupe negative" — that 
can sustain repeated printing. A film-to-tape ses- 
sion held at this point, then, would involve the 
A&B rolls of original negative, the answer print, 
or some duplicate of the negative. Or, perhaps at 
the suggestion of the transfer facility, the film- 
maker orders a Kodak 7380 low contrast print. 
Kodak 7380 is a modified print stock intended to 
enhance the shadow detail of the film-to-tape im- 
age. Its weakened contrast, however, renders it 
unsuitable for normal projection and therefore 
useless outside of the transfer session, so the film- 
maker must be prepared to budget it as a separate 
item apart from the standard answer print. 

In light of the added expense, is a low contrast 
7380 transfer really that much better than a con- 
ventional answer print transfer? It all depends. As 
we shall see, the transfer "look" of each film ele- 
ment derives from that element's basic sensitom- 
etry — that is, how it photographically fixes 
shadow details, midtones, and highlights, as ex- 
pressed by its "characteristic curve." 

Figure 1 — don't be put off, it's not all that 
complicated — demonstrates a handful of simple 
truths that dictate the outcome of a transfer from 
a 7291 color negative, 7384 answer print, or 7380 
low contrast print. (For simplicity, only the 



characteristic curve of the all-important green- 
sensitive layer of each element is represented in 
these examples.) In the graph at the left of Figure 
1, the characteristic curve of the original 7291 is 
plotted. Along the bottom axis I've arranged a 
gray scale that represents the eight f-stops of ex- 
posure in the real world. The dark tones indicate 
shadows and the light tones, highlights. In other 
words, our subject reflects eight increments of 
luminance, an f-stop each as read by a spotmeter. 

The actual foot-lambert levels don't matter in 
this example; what is significant is that a latitude 
of eight f-stops, or a contrast ratio of 256:1, fits 
handily on the "straight line portion" of the sen- 
sitometric curve. That's the part of the curve that 
doesn't curve: it's linear, which means that for 
every equal increase in exposure there's a cor- 
respondingly equal increase in density on the 
developed negative. The equal steps of exposure 
in this example are reproduced on the negative as 
equal steps of density, and there's no "tonal scale 
distortion." 

Figure 1 demonstrates this graphically. The ver- 
tical axis of the 7291 graph indicates increasing 
levels of density on the developed negative, and 
I've arranged its scale to correspond to that of the 
neutral density filter series familiar to filmmakers 
(0.3 represents one stop of density; 0.6, two stops; 
0.9, three stops; and so on). The increments of ex- 
posure along the bottom, though not quantified, 
are similarly scaled. Compare the length of the 
real-world gray scale along the bottom of the 
resultant negative density range, as indicated at 
the left of the 7291 graph. Although the in- 
crements of density on the negative are roughly 
equal, a sort of overall compression of the tonal 
scale has taken place. Indeed, a 7291 color 
negative has a "gamma" or contrast reproduction 
ratio of .55, represented graphically by the slope 
of its curve. That is, 7291 within its latitude takes 
the contrast of the real world and shrinks it to 55 
percent. That's why a color negative image, aside 
from its orange cast, looks flattened. 

It follows that the print stock would have a high 
contrast reproduction ratio, in excess of 1 : 1 , so as 
to restore the flat negative image to its original 
real-world contrast of 1 . A little figuring suggests a 
print stock gamma of 1.8 (neg. gamma .55 x 
print gamma 1.8 = 1). But here we're in the murky- 
world of psychophysics, where gazing at a bright 
screen in dark surroundings seems to lighten 
screen contrast and desaturate colors, at least as 
far as the visual cortex is concerned. We're in an 
imperfect world of commercial projection, where 
projector lens flare, ghosting from poor pulldown- 
sprocket/shutter synchronization, and sundry 
sources of spurious ambient light actively at- 
tenuate measurable screen contrast. And we're in 
a world of subjective impressions, where the end 
result of shooting and printing and projecting has 



lO THE INDEPENDENT 



to "look natural," regardless of photometric 
readings or predictions of vision theory. As it hap- 
pens, the contrast reproduction ratio of 7384 is 
close to 4: 1 , meaning that the contrast of the print 
image prior to projection is roughly twice that of 
the original scene! (Neg. gamma .55 xapprox. 
print gamma 3.8 = 2.) 

The right half of Figure 1 bears this out. I've 
taken the densities created on the 7291 negative 
and "printed" them onto the characteristic curves 
of both standard 7384 and low contrast 7380. (For 
the purposes of illustration, the axes of the right- 
hand graph are reversed. Exposure is now repre- 
sented on the vertical axis, and resultant densities 
are on their sides.) Compare the 7384 density 
range on the top to the low contrast 7380 range on 
the bottom, then compare both to the original 
tonal scale at the left. The exposure steps are no 
longer equivalent. The 7384 pinches the high- 
lights, then stretches the midtones and shadows. 
The low contrast 7380 also compresses highlights, 
stretches midtones, then crushes shadow detail. 

There is no psychophysical payoff for such ton- 
al scale distortion in the film-to-tape transfer. The 
flying-spot telecine — at the moment, the telecine 
most popular with filmmakers — is rather like a 
high-quality office copier. It faithfully reproduces 
what is fed into it. When original negative is trans- 
ferred, a near-linear tonal scale remarkably close 
to real life is reproduced. The scene as viewed on 
the small screen looks much the way it did to the 
eye. Shadows are full of detail; highlights, too. 
But when a print intended for projection is 
transferred, the telecine mercilessly reproduces 
whatever tonal distortion is manifest. As a result, 
7384 shadows are bottomless, highlights are 
anemic. 

What's more, the flying-spot telecine has its 
limits. According to Rank Cintel, the English 
manufacturer (with a little help from the BBC), it 
will "correctly reproduce pictures from positive or 
negative. . . within the density range of to 3.5." 
Now, we one can argue what it means to "correct- 
ly reproduce pictures, " but taken at face value, it's 
clear that in the given example of 7384, where the 
maximum density extends beyond 4.2 (imagine a 
neutral density filter of 4.2!), the shadow detail 
isn't going to make it. It's no surprise, therefore, 
that the modified density range of 7380 falls 
below 3.5. 

As a rule, the flying-spot telecine prefers thin- 
ner densities. The light source of a flying-spot 
telecine is a small cathode ray tube, and its 
luminous output is relatively modest. When a 
dark print is transferred, less light passes through 
the print to the photosensitive elements of the 
telecine, and consequent signal amplification in- 
troduces video noise to the film-originated im- 
age. At the same time, the colorist's color correc- 
tion system is often pushed to its limits, restrict- 

APRIL1985 



ing the available range of correction. 

If a film features high contrast lighting or a 
predominance of dark, shadowy figures, Figure 
1 indicates the use of 7380 as a print for transfer. 
If, instead, flat lighting is the rule, the choice of 
7380 versus 7384 is less critical. The reproduction 
of highlights and midtones, as Figure 1 predicts, 
is somewhat similar. Therefore, whether a 7380 
transfer is that much better depends ... on the 
subject matter. 

With this mind, take another look at 7291. Its 
maximum density in this example is about 1 .9. 
Again, there are no pinched highlights, no out- 
of-telecine-range shadow details. Now examine 
Figure 2. This time, I've "printed" the 7291 den- 
sity range onto the 45-degree characteristic curve 
of 7243, which is used to make the "master 
positive" from which a duplicate negative, also 
on 7243, is struck. 7243 has a contrast reproduc- 
tion ratio of 1 : 1 . It simply reverses from negative 
to positive the tonalities printed onto it, adding 
no distortion in the process. The resulting tonal 
scale is a direct reflection of the 7291 density 
range, which itself represents the contrast of the 
real-world scene reduced to 55 percent . 

Compare the 7243 master positive density 
range to that of low contrast 7380. Which ele- 
ment provides lighter densities for the flying-spot 
telecine while at the same time evenly reproduc- 
ing the full negative tonal scale? 

Truth be told, 7380 is a compromised product. 
Neither fish nor fowl, it is less than ideal for 
either transfer or, with its milky shadows, pro- 
jection. Kodak evidently felt that a specialized 
film-to-tape product that could not be projected 
to examine answer print timing would not be 
saleable. They may well be right: filmmakers 
who wouldn't dream of screening an inter- 
mediate "pre-print" element like the master pos- 
itive or dupe negative insist on a second or third 
corrected 7380 low contrast print — as if no color 
correction were available at the telecine! But, 
ironically, although 7380 is intended for stan- 
dard answer print timing, many filmmakers are 
discovering that by cutting the answer print tim- 
ing by at least six points and thereby creating a 
lighter 7380 print that is even less acceptable in 
projection, a better transfer is obtained. In 
Figure 1, this would represent shifting each of 
the 7380 densities one step to the left, bringing 
the print image further into the flying-spot's 
preferred range at the expense of compressing 
another highlight tone. This technique has been 
favored in Europe, particularly Germany, for 
quite some time. 

Why is it necessary to transfer a print at all? 
Why not always use a master positive or C.R.I. , 
or even the A&B rolls of original negative? Tune 
in to Part II for the answers — and some more 
questions, as well. 



Figure 1 . 

COLOR NEGATIVE TO PRINT 



7384 DENSITY RANGE 




SUBJECT LUMINANCE RANGE 
8 "STOPS" 



7380 DENSITY RANGE 



Figure 1. 



Figure 2. 

COLOR NEGATIVE TO 

7243 MASTER POSITIVE 




T 


V 




E " 


s_ 






s 


^ 


O 




.S. 


S 




. S. 


E 




v 


P 




v 


s 




^s. 


u 

R 

E 




..1' 



SUBJECT LUMINANCE RANGE 
8 "STOPS" 



0.3 0.6 9 1 2 1.5 1.8 



3.0 



7243 MASTER POS. DENSITY RANGE 



Figure 2. 



David Leitner is an independent producer who 
works at DuArt Film Labs in New York. 



©David Leitner 1985 

APRIL 1985 



THE INDEPENDENT 11 



SPECULATIONS 



Helen DeMichiel 




Barbara Latham and Christine Tamblyn's "Chained Reactions" is mysterious, physically intimate, 
and gently evocative. 




UID£0 




UOMEN 



12 THE INDEPENDENT 



Sexuality and violence, romantic yearnings for 
honest intimacy, the myths of motherhood, and 
the dichotomy between private and public life 
are some of the challenging themes recently ex- 
plored and articulated by women video artists. 
Alongside the work of feminist filmmakers who 
have made considerable headway with mixtures 
of theories and formal invention lie the less pro- 
minent but equally important recent experiments 
in narrative video by women. Like their film- 
making counterparts, these videomakers work 
in a milieu influenced and sustained by current 
political and cultural feminist thought, which 
has significantly criticized and redefined notions 
of how stories can and might be told, and for 
what audience. From mythologies and stereo- 
types to economic and social relationships, these 
artists question and reconstruct the content and 
perception of female experience. Although still 
marginalized as avant-garde video, this work is 
rooted in familiar subject matter, yet resonates 
with fascinating variety, surprises and contra- 
dictions. 

Fueled by video's lack of historical identity 
and burden, these artists serendipitously draw 
from and remodel a number of antithetical tra- 
ditions, including avant-garde films, confession- 
al melodrama and popular romance literature, 
soap operas and commercials, serial dramas, 
educational broadcasts, and comedy sitcoms. 
They also freely borrow and ironically rewrite 
the gimmicks and codes of television. These 
sources, though, are not merely parodied for ef- 
fect but manipulated and placed in a highly 
altered narrative context. By embracing and 
playing with cinematic, literary, and television 
genres, these videotapes tend to elude easy cate- 
gorization. Through this eclectic synthesis of 
material, these artists are able to relate stories 
from women's psychological and social experi- 
ence that we probably won't ever see on TV. 

All of the works I've chosen to discuss — 
Chained Reactions, by Barbara Latham and 
Christine Tamblyn; Beneath the Skin and 
Possibly in Michigan, by Cecelia Condit; Im- 
possible Love, by Candace Reckinger; and 
Womb with a View, by Sherry Millner — can be 
considered examples of such narratives. Al- 
though vastly different in style, each artist tries 
to excavate the nebulous area between seductive 
fictional stereotypes and daily realities, hard 
social facts and Utopian yearnings for a better 
world yet to be conceived. When secrets, 
dreams, and fantasies are described and inter- 
woven with the dramas of daily life, they become 
collectively confirmed and open for scrutiny. 
These artists deliberately show experience not as 
a linear totality, but as a fragmentary edi- 
fice — ambiguous, contradictory, and changing. 

Each tape reckons with the idea of a story to 
be told, yet the narrative exists between the lines, 

APRIL 1985 



functioning like a puzzle or rebus. Requiring the 
active intervention of the audience to put the 
pieces together, these tapes do not exert control 
over a viewer's experience, but rather present a 
series of narrative elements to be reassembled 
and thought about in a number of ways. These 
videotapes differ from films in that they are 
more about speculation than spectacle. 

Because video as a form is not "spectacular," 
it has historically attracted women who want to 
produce work without the preciousness of film- 
as-product. As massively complex economic dis- 
tribution problems encourage filmmakers to 
take fewer formal risks, video becomes an area 
where artists can work quicker, looser, and on a 
smaller budget. When the fundamental intention 
is to think and feel out loud, and the pressure to 
produce a critically acclaimed masterpiece is elim- 
inated, this liberating if somewhat limiting choice 
defines the working situation. Video, as these 
women practice it, still represents a form that has 
not been overwhelmed by the often mystified 
and drawn-out trappings of the production pro- 
cess. Video's casual living room intimacy en- 
courages speculation, provoking thought and in- 
terest long after viewing. A loose-limbed expres- 
sion of intelligence, wit, and craft informs these 
tapes, as they mercifully rely more on imagi- 
native reinvention than sexy techno-glitz. 
Without the debatable polemics surrounding the 
larger-than-life cinematic representation of 
women, these tapes point to a fictional video 
(structures that are fragmentary, open-ended, 
and ellipitical) which may be more conducive 
than film to opposing and overcoming traditions 
of "polished product." 

Of this selection, Barbara Latham and Chris- 
tine Tamblyn's Chained Reactions is the most 
mysterious, physically intimate, and gently 
evocative. The tape is an energetic patchwork of 
domestic and overcharged black-and-white im- 
ages and sounds concocted as if from a free-as- 
sociating dreamkit of a homebound Sunday af- 
ternoon. Sequences quickly oscillate between re- 
enacted scenes from gothic novels and TV soaps 
like Dark Shadows and loosely shot diaristic im- 
ages of ordinary life — cooking and other mun- 
dane tasks, friends casually relaxing, close-up 
domestic gestures captured in passing. Shots of 
hands laying out tarot cards, exotic birds, and 
personally significant objects are intercut, while 
a soundtrack of exaggerated ordinary household 
sounds, heartbeats, and snippets of familiar 
movie music provides an undercurrent of sus- 
pense. Latham and Tamblyn take the elements 
of a supernatural narrative plot, complete with 
meaningfully packed gestures, glances and 
moments, only to strip down and recontextualize 
them — maybe as riddles to be solved, maybe not. 
Intertitles appear and disappear — "She was 
afraid to open the door," "She feared for her 
sanity"— teasing our need to find plot where one 
refuses to cohere. 

Although an alluringly and seemingly random 
APRIL 1985 



montage that powerfully builds by allusion and 
inference, the videotape is at once analytical — its 
inherent structure questions a whole set of ar- 
cane symbols — and poetically ambiguous. It es- 
tablishes a patterning device which allows the 
viewer to drift in and ou* of memories and im- 
ages, renewing a sense of the magic of daily life. 
Through a delightfully skillful blend of pictures 
and sounds, Latham and Tamblyn play with our 
constant expectations for a conclusion, contin- 
uously reshuffling the deck of mediated icons 
until they make no sense, and then all sense. Im- 
ages, from commonplace to eccentric, are re- 
peated, electronically processed, and overlaid. 
Superficially seeming to be a hermetic game of 
chutes and ladders replete with loaded and emp- 
ty signs, an intensity of meaning builds, which 
lends a sense of foreboding, of still unconsum- 
mated acts. Yet the playful reworking of gothic 
mystery in Chained Reactions continually brings 
us back to thoughts about how and why these 
themes are so successful in popular literature and 
why women are attracted to these specific forms 
of entertainment — for release or relief from the 
mundane? — and what this implies. 

While Latham and Tamblyn have abstracted 
the elements of gothic fantasy, Cecelia Condit's 
tapes Beneath the Skin and Possibly in Michigan 
tell strangely poetic stories where sinister sus- 
pense is palpable, and violence, insanity, and 
death seem justifiable obsessions. In order to ar- 
ticulate the unnamed fears that constitute the 
mysterious underside of female sexuality, Condit 
makes the macabre a personal fascination, and 
works through a whimsical black humor to the 
anxieties women have about the ever-present 
proximity of brutal, senseless violence. 

In Beneath the Skin, a female narrator tells a 
story about discovering that her boyfriend had 
murdered his previous girlfriend. Total disbelief 
propels the narrator's confession forward, even 
after body parts are found in her closet. Lurid 
yet dreamlike images catch the drift of the narra- 
tion — decaying faces, dancing or screaming fig- 
ures, a stylized and repetitive reenactment of the 
crime — cross-cut and reprocessed to provide in- 
dividually seductive but grotesque metaphors 
for what we hear on the soundtrack. Through 
her startling mixture of contradictory images 
that lure as well as repel, Condit contemplates 
the nature of victimization and the individual's 
questioning of and revolt against complicity. 
The potential for female passivity or aggres- 
siveness is constantly played for extreme effect, 
as beauty encounters the beast, and danger and 
innocence are posed as wary bedfellows. 

In her recent tape, Possibly in Michigan, a 
morbid but funny revenge fantasy is fully and 
ironically realized. Living in an apparently safe 
and cozy environment of suburban neighbor- 
hoods and shopping malls, two best girlfriends 
are beset by a most peculiar and disturbing ag- 
gravation. A monstrously masked man follows 
them, threatening to kill and "eat them for 




Cecelia Condit explores violence between 
the sexes in "Possibly in Michigan," a parody of 
the "hack 'n slash" horror genre. 




Lurid yet dreamlike images populate a narra- 
tive of men, women, and murder in Cecelia 
Condif s "Beneath the Skin." 




Candace Reckinger"s "Impossible Love" is a 
tale of disintegration set in a fascistic Los 
Angeles of the future. 



Chained Reactions, Beneath the Skin, 
Possibly in Michigan, and Impossible Love 
are distributed by The Video Data Bank, The 
School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Col- 
umbus Drive at Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL 
60603. Womb with a View is distributed by 
Sherry Millner, 139 N. Walnut St., Yellow 
Springs, OH 45387. 



THE INDEPENDENT 13 




Sherry Millner examines her pregnancy and 
motherhood in "Womb with a View." 



love." In the short, hyperstylized scenes that 
take place in department stores and at home, 
Condit also includes deceptively light-hearted 
and endearing musical numbers, contradicting 
the creepy horror of the situation. She cleverly 
reverses the Freudian notion of the castrating 
female. Here, the man is the "animal/cannibal" 
who, in time, is creatively disposed of by friends 
Sharon and Janice. In the ritualized narrative 
scenario and its satirical resolution, where the 
aggressor becomes the victim, Condit unflinch- 
ingly visualizes and exorcises fears of sexual 
violence. In the virtuously safe milieu populated 
by elegant young women out to buy perfume in 
the shopping mall, she parodies for superb effect 
the excesses of the current "hack 'n' slash" hor- 
ror genre. 

Love lies uncomfortably but passionately next 
to physical and psychic mutilation in Condit's 
tapes. In Candace Reckinger's Impossible Love, 
emotions become too dangerous in her char- 
acters' "harsh and heavy world of political 
fact." At the beginning, a young female narrator 
says, "This is a tale about disintegration, when 
little pieces fall off and shatter into a million 
fragments." In this bleak post-industrial future, 
individual imagination and passion have been 
virtually erased; nothing is or can be as it may 
seem. The disjunctive science fiction story re- 
volves around personal relationships, political 
events and frighteningly brutal situations which 
are implied using a tenuously connected series of 
narrative tableaux. Reckinger's is a grimly fas- 
cistic, yet altogether familiar Los Angeles land- 
scape ("a terrible political world" where "if you 
were alone you belonged entirely to yourself) of 
hollow chic, loaded silences, and surveillance- 
scanned architecture. The mannequin-like 
characters act out choreographed theatrical 
moments that intentionally reveal only bits and 
pieces of a story about terrorism and counter- 
insurgency. Quasi-debilitated female "urban 

14 THE INDEPENDENT 



guerrillas" are stopped by sinister agents, yet 
they insist on carrying on a form of unsuccessful 
rebellion anyway, if only through indirect 
witness — "things happened, and I want to tell 
you a story, but I can't express it in words." 
Dreamlike confessions are placed next to un- 
balanced nightmarish images; an abstract 
soundtrack and surveillance video add to the 
sense of being watched, and continuously dis- 
placed. Reckinger has imagined a landscape 
where love and social discourse have become de- 
based but not altogether silenced. Her pessi- 
mistic yet elegantly conceived scenario calls into 
question the language of personal and public 
politics; the possibility for any kind of com- 
munication in a technocratic society can only be 
tentative. She also seems to be asking whether 
desire can genuinely exist as a particular female 
construct or can be confronted in a mediated, 
information-controlled society, where language 
serves power. 

Less circumspect than Reckinger, Sherry Mill- 
ner questions a particularly loaded set of lang- 
uage constructs in Womb with a View. Using a 
grab bag of visual and verbal puns, collaged 
graphics, sardonic gags, and send-ups of advice 
and self-help programs, she offers an honest and 
poignant meditation on the trials and joys of her 
incipient motherhood. Given the transient na- 
ture of her culture, Millner realizes she has never 
learned the psychic or social techniques for being 
a mother. So she looks for a new set of models 
and, in doing so, rambunctiously debunks senti- 
mental stereotypes. As a chronicle of a very 
special journey, she manages to inventively doc- 
ument the interior and exterior process of trans- 
formation and takes a step toward personally 
and socially reframing the terms of motherhood. 
Through a series of ironically-titled episodic 
chapters — "Pillar of Saltines," "Esthetics and 
Domestic Anthropology," "Savage Nomencla- 
ture" — Millner and partner Ernest Larsen try 



to "name the experience" — its fears and doubts, 
exhilaration and overwhelming happiness. 

Millner's diaristic narration alternates be- 
tween philosophical reflection, extravagant fan- 
tasy, and mundane worries. She has nightmares 
about being split in two (the artist half, the 
mother half) by an errant buzzsaw, finds herself 
a hysterical madonna, and sees saltine crackers 
everywhere. She thinks herself a piece of ripe 
fruit, and wonders if Ernie would be a better 
mother than she. As she reexamines her past in 
the light of pregnancy, she comments on how 
language has formed her whole notion of what 
motherhood means. Purposefully low-tech, 
Womb with a View relies on a rich and so- 
phisticated assortment of sources: art history, 
mass media, literature, and mythology. Draw- 
ings and hand-made props, quotes from films, 
illustrated analogies, and personal anecdotes are 
vigorously thrown together to simultaneously 
make the event "real" and confront the current 
politics of biology . 

Above all, these videotapes attempt to speak 
to common as well as individual experience. As 
the everyday world is perceived and identified 
anew, commonplace occurrences are made 
strange and opened for reinterpretation. These 
tapes ambitiously raise questions about ways in 
which women's personal and social lives may be 
addressed and recreated. The visions encompass- 
ed are wide and complex, entertaining and sub- 
versive — and the questions posed are large and 
open for debate. These efforts should not re- 
main ghettoized as eccentric art video; they pro- 
duce and are produced in an atmosphere inspir- 
ing increasing numbers of feminist video artists 
to chart territory' heretofore only dreamed of 
and tentatively defined. 

Helen DeMichiel is a video artist in Boston. 



E Helen DeMichiel 1985 



APRIL 1985 



FREEDCM 

INKBMATMr 
ACTS 



Jane Creighton 



"SALVADORANS USE VIDEO IN THE 
PROPAGANDA WAR" rang the headline in 
the New York Times over an August 1984 article 
that purported to introduce the film collective of 
the Radio Venceremos System to the Times- 
reading public. In a leap that must have caused 
some bemusement among the collective, report- 
er James Brooke likened their work to Ayatollah 
Khomeini inspiring his followers on audio cas- 
settes. Reading on, we learned that the Salva- 
doran government was waging a "video coun- 
terattack," airing scenes of guerrilla destruction 
that we were to surmise played well against the 
"home movie" quality of the guerrilla produc- 
tions—those amalgams of "propaganda, train- 
ing clips, and documentary." The implication 
was, if you've seen one obsessive revolutionary 
movement, you've seen them all. Or, as my good 
friend overheard on the street, "Islam! You 
know, that's the place south of Mexico in the 
jungle!" 

It's easy to jab the Times for picking and choos- 
ing its version of evenhandedness. The more dif- 
ficult problem Brooke unintentionally raises for 
anyone interested in bringing news about revolu- 
tionary movements in Central America to the 
United States is how one develops an audience 
for clearly partisan information given the bar- 
riers of public distrust for, and ignorance of, 
anyone else's revolution. 

I enter this article through the doorway of 
77mes-style ideology and practice because the 
Times fairly describes the climate into which the 
North American portion of the Radio Vencer- 
emos project falls. That project means to show 
us the extent of the war, the extent of current 
popular resistance in El Salvador, and the extent 
of U.S. military involvement. Halting U.S. 
intervention is top priority for the Salvadorans; 




broad exhibition of these films and tapes could 
be instrumental toward that end. That depends 
on the ability of the organized opposition and 
political media in the U.S. to loosen the grip of 
the cold war climate and the Monroe Doctrine 
ideology that have kept us culturally and his- 
torically ignorant — isolated by the rhetoric of 
commie attack and the Times' % blithely-defined 
video counterattack. A look into the history, the 
films, and the evolving purpose of the film collec- 
tive of the Radio Venceremos System suggests 
ways of proceeding that may be of interest to an 
alternative media in the U.S. in pursuit of its own 
audience. 

The appearance of RVS films in the U.S. over 
the past few years coincides with the outbreak of 
civil war in El Salvador in 1980. The civil war has 
been fueled by a significant increase in military 
and economic aid to the government by the U.S. 
So the RVS films address a nation already com- 
mitted to a side in the conflict. These are war 
documentaries shot well within the the point of 
view of the Farabundo Marti Front for National 
Liberation (FMLN). They detail the extent and 
organization of the opposition, and as such are 
meant to influence any audience implicated in 
the war. We are implicated. Therefore, we have 
the opportunity to watch and act, one way or 
another, on what we have learned. 

To more deeply question the nature of the war 
is a form of action. The capacity of RVS produc- 
tions to raise more questions than answers 
among the viewing audience is a function of their 
political intent. That function has been tested to 
some degree among North American church, 
solidarity, and college and high school organi- 
zations, but not much beyond the somewhat 
limited reach of these groups. Let's discuss the 
public at large. If you are part of the majority of 



APRIL 1985 



North Americans who are mostly disinterested in 
the distinctions between El Salvador and Nicara- 
gua, you may still be intrigued by the appearance 
of Caspar Weinberger in a combat zone. Your 
interest may be sparked by a rain of U.S. para- 
troopers on military exercise dropping into a 
countryside where you have just seen young left- 
wing revolutionaries moving with grace and 
camaraderie through a village market. You may 
not give a damn about village people, but you 
will probably for the first time have had a 
glimpse of Salvadorans directing their gaze at 
one another, rather than at a U.S. camera crew 
standing around with interpreters next to an elec- 
tion queue. 

If you are a Salavadoran and live in a village 
outside the guerrilla-controlled zones, you will 
be aware of the guerrillas because their units may 
pass through your village two or three times a 
year. You may be sympathetic to them because 
of your connection to or awareness of the mass 
organizations which flowered before the awe- 
some government repression that marked the 
start of the war. The increased use of mobile 
video units by RVS will probably make available 
to you what the lack of newspapers, your prob- 
able inability to read, and the conditions of 
government repression won't. You will see 
health clinics, schools, an apparently function- 
ing economy, and a coordinated guerrilla army 
that effectivelly manages to keep government 
forces out of the liberated zones. 

If you are a Salvadoran living in a liberated 
zone, the domestic and international furor over 
upcoming elections in the country may have little 
immediate impact on you, concerned as you 
might be with the intricacies of self-defense and 
self-government. Duarte, D'Aubuisson et al. 
won't be fielding campaign promises in your 

THE INDEPENDENT 15 



neighborhood. You might be in danger of sup- 
posing that the developing conditions of your 
immediate society are being played out with the 
same vigor in the barrios of San Salvador. You 
will, in the discussion following a display of 
footage about life in the cities, learn that the 
largest percentage of the country is still under 
government control, and that U.S. intervention 
in all levels of government is prolonging the war 
indefinitely. You might then judge that you are 
in for a long haul, and that the high morale with 
which you are living, based on your successes in 
the liberated zones, is going to have to last be- 
yond the fleeting exhilaration of intense hope. 

Same films, different audiences. And for each 
audience, different questions of who, what, 
when, where, why, how? The assumption that 
the active quest for answers is the best way for 
people to inform themselves about the state of 
their world is built into RVS's collective process. 

That process evolved under the harsh condi- 
tions which circumscribe guerrilla filmmaking 
during a civil war. In late 1980 and 1981, Radio 
Venceremos was formed to create a radio com- 
munications base in the guerrilla-controlled 
province of Morazan, in concert with the 
FLMN's consolidation of its fighting base there. 
Several independent Salvadoran filmmakers 
sympathetic to the FMLN went to Morazan un- 
der the collective name Cera a la Izquierda (Zero 
to the Left) to document the new society being 



created. Only one had formal training in film. 
The rest were students, largely self-taught, or 
people from other disciplines— writers, photog- 
raphers, singers. They went with only the 
vaguest notion of how to show what they pro- 
duced — send it to friends in Mexico, perhaps, 
who had international connections to Europe. 

Paolo Martin was working with Radio Ven- 
ceremos when CI arrived in Morazan. He is an 
internationalist who had come to El Salvador as 
a journalist and stayed on, making the crossover 
to the new information order that Radio Vencer- 
emos exemplifies. His discussion of RVS's cine- 
matic origins provides the background for much 
of this article. Morazan and Decision to Win are 
among the first offerings of revolutionary 
Salvadoran cinema. Both document aspects of 
life in the controlled zones. Scripted and shot 
with 16mm film, they are the product of a col- 
laboration between the filmmakers and the var- 
ious activists working with Radio Vencer- 
emos — members of mass organizations and 
journalists like Martin, or the Venezuelan cam- 
eraman who came to make TV features and, 
likewise, remained. 

This group worked on the premise that the 
world at large, and El Salvador in particular, 
would benefit from the depiction of the extraor- 
dinary way life goes on in the zones amidst an in- 
ternationally-defined Salvadoran "crisis." 
Morazan is a 15-minute short showing the pro- 



duction of and training in the use of homemade 
weapons. Decision To Win is a feature-length 
film that unfolds a rural universe of collective 
sugar-making, com-farming, health care, ed- 
ucation, and self-defense. It is a temperately- 
paced primer, enlightening to anyone who thinks 
Salvadorans live only in a nightmare of manip- 
ulation by warring sides. 

These films set the stylistic course for succeed- 
ing productions: minimal voiceover narration 
and a concentration on faces, what people say to 
one another, what they say to the camera about 
the work they do, and the camera's gaze. But the 
use of 16mm imposed restrictions that threw into 
question its long-term effectiveness. When they 
made Decision to Win, CI thought they would 
soon be showing it in the big theaters in San Sal- 
vador. Escalating U.S. intervention proved that 
assumption wrong. This meant several things. 
Few people in El Salvador could see the films, 
having no access to electrical generators in the 
liberated zones and no public access, so to speak, 
in the cities. CI could and would make use of 
fledgling international distribution connections to 
Europe and the U.S., but that could not satisfy 
the deeper intent that the making of Decision to 
Win uncovered — to provide revelatory images to 
Salvadorans about themselves and the progress of 
their revolution. 

Producing Salvadoran documentary in a 
world at the very least acquiescent to the Sal- 




16 THE 



INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1985 



vadoran and U.S. governments' versions of the 
red menace meant that the classic documentary 
format of Decision to Win had to be revised for 
the duration. The method of going into the 
countryside for anywhere from two weeks to two 
months, scripting and filming, then leaving the 
country to edit, produce, and show up at film 
festivals proved inadequate to the larger goal of 
building an informational infrastructure within 
El Salvador that would be consistently re- 
sponsive to both domestic and international de- 
velopments. Crucial to this was the recognition 
that visual reportage needed to be part of, as well 
as a picture of, the revolutionary process. 

Martin describes discussions within the CI col- 
lective, which radiated into all the organizations 
operating in the liberated zones, about the infor- 
mation projects. The result was the formation in 
1982 of a film collective within the Radio Ven- 
ceremos System — that is, a communcations net- 
work bringing the popular use of video and 
Super-8 into the structure originally built by 
guerrilla radio. What Decision To Win project- 
ed — a condition where all aspects of military, 
economic, and cultural life were integrated into 
the defense of Morazan province — became the 
modus operandi for the filmmakers as well. 

Central to this was the switchover from 16mm 
to Vi " video. Martin said that 16mm required a 
predefinition for political reporting: script the 
film, shoot the film in one period of time, edit 



the film away from the field, then return some 
time later for the next round. This was good in- 
dependent filmmaking, but the filmmakers 
— and to some extent their films — remained out- 
side the full revolutionary process. In addition, 
this method could not keep pace with the 
geometrically expanding story of the war on the 
domestic and international fronts, nor with the 
diverse domestic uses to which film and video 
could be put. 

A political decision was made which overrode 
the concerns the film people had about the 
home-movie quality of small-format video but 
corresponded to the demands of the larger pro- 
ject. From this point on, members of the collec- 
tive began to stay in the zones as something like 
war correspondents, living with the campesinos, 
moving with the guerrillas, becoming a perma- 
nent element in the life and work of the country- 
side. The collective expanded to include anyone 
who had a concerted interest in the project. Sal- 
vadorans with no expertise other than their par- 
ticipation in the subject itself began to produce 
their own media. In most cases they taught them- 
selves how to use the equipment, depending ini- 
tially on the experience of the handful of people 
who had some formal training in film and video. 
Operating not as professionals but as activists 
within the community, they made — are making 
— the camera a thing less strange among the 
people. It has become another familiar instru- 



ment of the ongoing work. 

They now shoot whatever they can, wherever 
they can, keeping in mind the current thematic 
directions suggested to them by the military and 
political developments as analyzed by the collec- 
tive command structure of RVS and the FMLN. 
They don't film with scripts. That would pre- 
suppose a knowledge of what will happen on any 
given day, and so would not adequately reflect 
the continuously unfolding exigencies of war. 
Instead, they film with the purpose of building as 
big an archive as possible, out of which films can 
be edited according to the demands of the infor- 
mation war being waged in El Salvador and else- 
where. 

Those demands are varied. Earlier, while the 
film collective was grappling with the problems 
of international distribution, people in the lib- 
erated zones wanted to use the films and tapes to 
relate information about the rest of the country, 
about the level of guerrilla military pre- 
paredness, and for training in diverse military 
techniques. Betamax equipment and some ca- 
pacity for mobile television units has enormously 
increased these possibilities. When guerrilla units 
arrive in a village, they bring not only their 
military capability but also people from mass 
organizations, health care workers, educators, 
and tapes that update the progress of the war and 
the organization in the zones. These elements 
become the basis for discussions in the village. 




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APRIL 1985 



THE INDEPENDENT 17 




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Discussion is the key to the difference in faith 
and approach between RVS and, say, U.S. net- 
work coverage which comes to its conclusions — 
certainly about El Salvador — outside of any 
popular exchange with either Salvadoran or 
U.S. citizens. That's possibly too easy a point to 
make, but stark contrasts are useful in evaluating 
what these films are trying to do. Decision to 
Win and Morazan set out to methodically de- 
scribe what was unimaginable to anyone outside 
the liberated zones: a vibrant, living history 
pulled out of what we have generally understood 
to be the shambles of Salvadoran culture. After 
the reorganization of the film collective, RVS 
produced Letter from Morazan (1982), Sowing 
Hope (1983), Time of Daring (1983), and the 
current release, BRAZ (Brigada Rafael Arce 
Zablah). Built on the foundation of the first two 
films, these show historical aspects of the revo- 
lution as it evolves under the pressure of U.S. 
collaboration with the army. 

Letter from Morazan documents the Coman- 
dante Gonzalo campaign, one of a series of mil- 
itary initiatives that stripped the Salvadoran ar- 
my of the ability to defend itself without a radical 
increase in the U.S. military presence. Sowing 
Hope shows the Church's participation in the 
communal life of campesinos in the liberated 
zones. Time of Daring and BRAZ together pre- 
sent complementary versions of the dynamic 
between the army, the FMLN fighting brigades, 
and the third decisive factor — U.S. intervention. 

"If you see a guy perched in a tree, don't 



worry: this meeting is being filmed as 
testimony," says Comandante Ana Guadalupe 
Martinez during a military/political analysis in 
Letter. Indeed. The easy play between com- 
batants, campesinos, camera, and cameraper- 
son sets a remarkable tone for this letter, a sweet 
and light narrative that begins, "Dear Com- 
rades, we have nine videocassettes of the battle. 
Just think!" Such brief remarks overlay se- 
quences of battle, the surrender of soldiers, the 
first footage ever taken of the handing over of 
prisoners to the International Red Cross, and the 
exquisite Zen-like training of guerrillas to move 
silently across any terrain, under any conditions. 
The economy of language mixed with an in- 
creasingly intent visual focus on the players is 
deeply refined in Time of Daring, the jewel of all 
RVS productions to date. Made after the U.S. 
invasion of Grenada, it describes the evolving 
standoff between the FMLN and the U.S. mili- 
tary as the Salvadoran army dissolves into a U.S. 
dependent. The film is a montage, juxtaposing 
edit by edit how it is on the army side with how it 
is on the guerrilla side. For anyone used to 
watching identifiable good guys and bad guys on 
U.S. television, this is a challenge to con- 
centration—just the sort of challenge RVS is 
after. Somehow, somewhere, they came into 
possession of a considerable amount of footage 
from the other side. We see a beauty pageant in 
San Salvador cutting to a goose-stepping army, 
soldiers undergoing their bootcamp training 
with U.S. military advisers, wounded soldiers 



being shoved onto helicopters or dropped down 
next to an upright comrade who talks like a 
Marine about his elite training in the United 
States. In each case the footage is matched by a 
melodious cut to conditions among the guerril- 
las: the care with which guerrillas move among 
their people, the care with which the wounded 
are met, the depth with which they can analyze 
their military situation, and their prescient 
understanding of what they are facing from the 
U.S. All this is done without fanfare. The army 
is not announced to us. Each time we switch to a 
group of fighters, we can judge from their mo- 
rale and statements which is their side. In the 
same way that we have been able to watch guer- 
rillas fend for themselves in front of the camera, 
we can gauge through pace and tone the dispo- 
sition of army regulars who appear to display a 
range of emotion — from arrogance to demorali- 
zation — without the categorical interference of 
their superiors. 

Time of Daring builds its case on imagery. It is 
nearly without verbal rhetoric. It doesn't at- 
tempt to explain the entire history and culture of 
El Salvador. It resists the didacticism of Decision 
to Win to get to another point: U.S. intervention 
is not good for Salvadorans, and a great many 
Salvadorans are devoting their lives to resisting 
it. This visually lush and verbally spare message 
has produced some conflict in North American 
filmmaking circles. There is a sense among us, 
understandably, that North Americans need in- 
tact explanations before they can begin to 



18 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1985 




*** 









The Radio Venceremos System depends on 
contributions by international groups and in- 
dividuals for its income and to fulfill its pro- 
duction needs. Donations of the following 
equipment would be helpful: 

% " and Betamax blank videotapes 

video cameras 

audio tape recorders 

shortwave radios 

Donations or information requests can be 
sent to: 
El Salvador Film and Video Project 

Box 1006, San Francisco, CA 94101, 
(415) 826-5691 

Box 57441, Los Angeles, CA 90057, 
(213) 381-6793 

799 Broadway, Suite 325, New York, 
NY 10003, (212) 989-0541 

Serial de Libertad (Signal of Freedom), the 
publication of Radio Venceremos, is 
available from El Salvador Information 
Center, Box 421965, San Francisco, CA 
94142, in Spanish and English editions. 

Radio Venceremos films and videotapes are 
distributed by Icarus Films, 200 Park Avenue 
South, Room 1319, New York, NY 10003, 
(212) 674-3375. 



understand what's going on beyond our borders. 
When RVS asked for help on the English ver- 
sion, they were encouraged to develop a political 
commentary to go along with the film, thus 
bridging this explanation gap. 

They refused, first, because they weren't 
about to make different films for different 
publics. The global message was, and is, "This is 
what's happening right now in El Salvador." 
North Americans will see the fundamentals per- 
tinent to them, that the "terrorists" of El 
Salvador seem to include a great portion of its 
people, that Caspar Weinberger is running 
around in combat zones, and that the introduc- 
tion of U.S. combat troops seems to be danger- 
ously close. 

The second reason involves political media's 
relationship to its desired audience. For anyone 
engaged in creating an alternative media in the 
U.S., there is a tremendous pressure to keep up 
with and educate against the abounding disin- 
formation about the state of the world. For RVS 
to respond to this pressure, they would have to 
drop a story told in their own terms in favor of a 
facts-and-figures history lesson whose terms are 
defined by the U.S. government. Speaking for 
RVS, Martin says: 

We thought, there exist a lot of films that 
have an educational approach to the peo- 
ple. We don't need to make another of 
these films. We don't have the credibility 
with people in the U.S. to tell them how to 

APRIL 1985 



see things in El Salvador. We have all the 
right — and that is what we are doing — to 
tell them how we are seeing it. But it 
should be the American people who get 
into the discussion with their own people 
about how they see it. That's not our 
work. We won't make educational films 
for the U.S., that's impossible. So we 
said, we have to make a film based on pic- 
tures; they have to see what happens. We 
will give only the elements of text or letters 
necessary to understand, but no kind of 
interpretation. Our interpretation is inside 
the editing, the contrasts we put together. 
But we don't talk to the American people, 
we want to show them. 

RVS talks to its own people. A primary tenet 
of their work rests on the belief that a people 
combining adequate information with the free- 
dom and/or provocation to discuss and analyze it 
is empowered to act. Time of Daring has not yet 
found an uninitiated audience here to test itself 
before. That job rests with the available distribu- 
tion networks. The process of bringing RVS pro- 
ductions to public debate — through more exten- 
sive church, college, or community organizing, 
perhaps — will be the process that activates the 
intelligence of some portion of a public long in 
the habit of acquiescing to the cold war whims of 
its government. 

The most compelling idea built into the films 
of RVS is that political media — and to a larger 



extent the opposition itself — cannot be a teacher 
of the people. It must be a conduit to provoking 
the conscience and self-interest of the viewer into 
investigation and action. These films indicate to 
the North American public the look and feel of 
the disaster it heads for in a regional war in Central 
America. How, and even if, they have enough im- 
pact depends on the evolution of the long battle 
for adequate distribution that confronts indepen- 
dent producers here. 

RVS created itself from a dearth of materials 
and expertise, and from an abundance of nerve. 
It presents a challenge to the fact of central in- 
telligence — to the proliferating information 
about the Third World kept out of focus by net- 
work coverage and government cover-up. It is 
useful for us, the watchers and makers of po- 
litical media, to consider the ways in which these 
productions shape and are shaped by the eye- 
level concerns of their projected audience. That 
audience is the people of El Salvador whose 
history and future, the films point out, inevitably 
reach into ours. The challenge here begins in our 
ability to wrestle the terms of our history into the 
diverse hands of the people who live it, the North 
American public. As some cheerful militant said 
during a Radio Venceremos broadcast, "If you 
hear imperialist interference, switch to another 
channel." 

Jane Creighton is a poet and organizer with the 
International Work Brigades/New York. 



© Jane Creighton 1985 



THE INDEPENDENT 19 



BOOK REVIEW 



TAKING STOCK 
OF THE 

INFORMATION 
MARKET 

Information and the Crisis Economy 

by Herbert I. Schiller 

Sorwood, SJ: Ablex Publishing Corporation, 

1984, 133 pp., S22.50 



Most likely, you've seen the ads: if you don't buy 
your daughter or son a pc, the kid will grow up 
disadvantaged. On TV, the young man detrains 
— a college dropout left behind by his computer- 
literate peers. The little girl is presented with a 
computer to ensure her employability 15 years 
hence. A full-page, four-color ad in the New 
York Times Magazine pitches software designed 
for children four to eight years old: ". . when 
they play at the computer, they won't be playing 
around." The marketing ploy at work here ap- 
peals to a kind of social and personal anxiety 
more profound than concern about bad breath: 
the fear of economic failure, of exclusion from 
the rosy future promised by the Information 
Revolution. Such anxiety is hardly unwarranted, 
but, as usual, ad campaigns attempt to trans- 
form reasonable worries into shopping trips. In 
these terms, the new electronic product or service 
will allow entry into privileged ranks; the pur- 
chase of this or that brand of high-tech toy 
assures access to information and, thus, social 
mobility. 

With any hard sell, some doubts surface, but 
most projections for what's announced as the 
Communications or Information Revolution ac- 
cept its inevitability. This is not surprising, given 
its present course, set and largely controlled by 
three major centers of power — corporations, the 
military, and the state — of the most powerful na- 
tion — the United States. Beyond our borders, 
however, challenges to U.S. hegemony in infor- 
mation production, distribution, and profits are 
becoming more insistent (e.g., the UNESCO 
proposal for a New World Information Order, 
which met with extreme hostility from U.S. 
media industries and the government). At home, 
two clusters of dissenters work to expose and 
counter the political, economic, and cultural ef- 
fects masked by the rhetoric of technological 
progress. One broadly defined group is composed 
of media activists and artists — those who build 
models for democratic uses of advanced com- 

20 THE INDEPENDENT 



munications technology, as well as those who 
rework or critique the material of mass com- 
munications in order to encourage critical con- 
sciousness. Other critics can be found in aca- 
demia — some communications theorists along 
with a sprinkling of film and literary scholars. 

Prominent in this second group is Herbert 
Schiller, professor of communications at the 
University of California, San Diego, whose 
latest book, Information and the Crisis 
Economy, considers recent developments in 
communications policy in relation to interna- 
tional economic conditions. Schiller describes 
this double movement in terms of the increasing 
privatization of information propelled by the ex- 
panding domain of transnational corporations. 
In this he returns to many of the topics and 
analyses presented in his previous book, Who 
Knows? Information in the Age of the Fortune 
500 (Ablex, 1981). Although overlapping, the 
two texts are not redundant, but complemen- 
tary. The earlier book details the process of corn- 
modification of information and the social divi- 
sions based on control of access to information 
which result. Although he convincingly deline- 
ates the immense influence of transnational cor- 
porations in shaping our information-based 
society, Schiller doesn't draw a monolithic pic- 
ture; indeed, he concludes with a chapter on 
"The Insecure Foundations of the Fortune 500" s 
Information Age." Information and the Crisis 
Economy further elaborates the contradictions 
which plague and, to some extent, are produced 
by the same transnational corporations (with the 
U.S. government and military contributing to 
their expansionist ambitions). For instance, a 
search for new markets engages the advertising 
apparatus, which, in turn, creates demands for 
consumer goods. Schiller points out how this 
consumer imperative can backfire: "If growth 
cannot be maintained, the consumerist ethos 
falters. Indeed, it is likely to become a source of 
growing dissatisfaction." Another example of 
the threats to unimpeded expansion and pro- 
fiteering by the information industries is the in- 
ternational debate over the free flow of informa- 
tion. Satellite telecommunications technology 
now makes it possible for information to in- 
visibly cross national boundaries, but the prin- 
ciples of national sovereignty are not so easily 
transgressed. Schiller cites arrogant corporate 
and official U.S. claims that the First Amend- 
ment to the U.S. Constitution justifies unlimited 
access to all markets. But, he then reminds us, 
"The anti-imperialist struggles of the twentieth 
century are too recent to have been expunged 
from popular consciousness. Genuine national 
independence and sovereignty . . . remain power- 
ful aspirations." Banking on new technologies 
to bail out a deeply troubled market econo- 
my — with high levels of unemployment, devas- 
tating plant closings, and unstable currencies 
undermining the capitalist order — the corporate 
sector seems to stir up the very problems which 
spur it on. Rather than heralding an era of peace 



and prosperity, Schiller demonstrates how "the 
Information Revolution is proceeding much like 
the Industrial Revolution that preceded it." 

These are some of the dialectical threads traced 
in this book, and the argument, as I've outlined 
it thus far, is similar to that in Who Knows?. But, 
beyond updating his analysis with more recent 
factual material, Schiller significantly extends his 
theoretical inquiry in a chapter titled, "The 
Political Economy of Communications: Culture 
Is the Economy. " Here he describes what he calls 
the "two lane road" of a corporate-controlled 
society: "One lane is the economy itself. The 
other is popular consciouness." He explores the 
consequences of a society where information 
and, therefore, culture are reduced to exchange- 
able commodities and their availability becomes 
determined by buying power: "A sheath of 
technological mystification obscures the rapid 
extension of capitalist criteria and control to ter- 
rain hitherto far less subject to its influence — the 
cultural process, and consciousness itself." This 
shift, for instance, can be detected in the ad cam- 
paigns mentioned in the opening paragraph of 
this review and the reshaping of concepts of 
education and work these imply. Schiller's obser- 
vation leads to an important theoretical problem 
concerning the relationships between cultural 
production and economic relations: 

Some believe that the changed conditions in 
advanced capitalism require a loosening of 
the older, supposedly direct, material links 
that were believed to bind inexorably the 
work of artists, writers, jurists, scientists, 
and intellectuals to the specific needs and 
interests of the dominating class. The idea 
of "determination" is relaxed in this read- 
ing of developments, and the setting of 
limits is considered more appropriate. 

But, he adds, a political economy of com- 
munications might reevaluate this position: 

If commercial production and sale of infor- 
mation are on the way to becoming domi- 
nant features of the economy that is emerg- 
ing, and if they are creating a convergence 
between cultural and industrial production 
in general, the conditions that bind the 
cultural/communications sphere to the in- 
stitutional infastructure may be tightening 
rather than loosening. 

The ascendancy of commercialized in- 
formation in all kinds of productive activity 
may make for less, not more autonomy, in 
creative as well as routine work. 

For media makers who work outside the 
culture industries, this point is especially perti- 
nent. Alternatives to a culture tied to the interests 
of transnational corporations can only be 
formulated from an understanding of these con- 
nections. Any Utopians convinced of the 
ultimate social good which will flow from tech- 
nology and information saturation should at- 
tend to Schiller's closely argued refutation of 

APRIL 1985 



such ideas. And pessimists who accept a 
dehumanized, 1984 scenario following from 
corporate-military-state-communications collu- 
sion might consider the paradoxes of this 
dynamic spelled out in Information and the 
Crisis Economy. 

Still, the incomplete consolidation of the cor- 
porate grip on communications and information 
and the internal contradictions of this process 
will not necessarily reverse the present direction. 
What Schiller proposes as a possible antidote to 
market-determined information production and 
flow is a concept of democratic communica- 
tions: "the widest possible public access to and 
involvement with the means of expression, in 



both an active and reactive mode." Although the 
final section of the book examines some 
possibilities for undermining or resisting domi- 
nant ideology, little attention is given to creative 
programs. While Schiller may be correct to see 
alternative media as marginal — "restricted and 
mainly in the social interstices" — and, therefore, 
tangential to his project, only active, imaginative 
interventions and counterpractices can produce 
the critical consciousness he calls for. At the 
same time, alternative media strategies need 
to be informed by the intelligence of theorists 
like Schiller in order to be effective. Only then 
can a system of democratic communications be 
thinkable. — Martha Gever 



SUMMARY OF MINUTES 
OF AIVF BOARD MEETING 



The AIVF and FIVF boards met January 17 and 
18, 1985, at the AIVF offices. Present: Robert 
Richter, president; Lillian Jimenez, chair; Bar- 
ton Weiss, secretary; Pearl Bowser, St. Clair 
Bourne, Christine Choy, Peter Kinoy, Howard 
Petrick, Martha Rosier, Richard Schmiechen, 
Lawrence Sapadin. 

Lillian Jimenez urged the board to set clear 
quarterly goals for itself and signalled AIVF's 
10th anniversary celebration as this quarter's 
focus. 

Executive director Lawrence Sapadin report- 
ed that AIVF recently signed a new five-year 
lease, but with a substantial rent increase. Admin- 
istrative staffing has been increased and a new 
screening space acquired. Plans for com- 
puterization are still pending. Sapadin also briefly 
reported on the conference of the National 
Alliance of Media Arts Centers and a November 
meeting of the Association of California In- 
dependent Public Television Producers. 

Committees reported as follows: 

Independent Radio Task Force has developed 
a series of options for a formal relationship with 
AIVF. Negotiations will proceed. Task Force 
views such a relationship as both feasible and 
desirable. 

National Services Committee will develop a 
membership questionnaire to assess local needs 
and priorities for AIVF's national services. 

Advocacy Committee recommended that the 
Corporation for Public Broadcasting reserve a 
portion of its advertising funds to establish a 
promotional fund to support the Program 
Fund's independent and minority programs. 
Open Solicitation guidelines should include 
specific guidelines relating to promotional sup- 
port, to be developed by independent represen- 
tatives and CPB staff. The committee also urged 
that CPB be requested to advise panel members 
of staffs final decision before public announce- 
ment and that staff provide reason in writing for 
any departure from panel recommendations. 

APRIL 1985 



The AIVF Board passed a committee resolu- 
tion that AIVF issue a statement opposing pro- 
posed budget cuts for the National Endowments 
for the Arts and Humanities. 

Development Committee presented, and the 
board approved, two-year organizational goals 
to 1 . stabilize the financial base of the organiza- 
tion, 2. eliminate deficits, 3. invest in office im- 
provements, and 4. expand national services. 
Board further resolved that the Development 
Committee will present a list of potential addi- 
tional FIVF board members with expertise in 
financial management, legal, or fundraising 
areas from which to select up to three new 
members. 

Business manager Tom Sutton presented the 
AIVF and FIVF financial statements for FY 
'83- '84 and offered a resolution, passed by the 
board, creating a special fund for the year's 10th 
anniversary activities. 

Jimenez reported on the status of the 10th an- 
niversary celebration scheduled for June 4, 1985 
at the Museum of Modern Art. The Board of- 
fered special thanks to administrative director 
Mary Guzzy for her work coordinating prepara- 
tions for the event. 

The board developed a procedure by which it 
would supplement the Indie Awards nomination 
list in areas where representation was weak and 
nominations inadequate to represent the diversi- 
ty of the field. Final selection of Indie Award 
recipients will be made by the board at its next 
meeting. 

AIVF member Judi Fogelman requested that 
the board reconsider instituting open screenings 
of members' work in New York (tabled at its 
September meeting). No further action was 
taken. 



PRINCIPLES AND 
RESOLUTIONS OF THE 
ASSOCIATION 

AIVF FOUNDING PRINCIPLES 

1. The Association is a trade association of 
and for independent video and filmmakers. 

2. The Association encourages excellence, 
commitment and independence; it stands 
for the principle that video and filmmaking 
is more than just a job — it goes beyond 
economics to involve the expression of 
broad human values. 

3. The Association works, through the 
combined efforts of its membership, to 
provide practical, informational and moral 
support for independent video and film- 
makers and is dedicated to ensuring the 
survival of, and providing for the growth 
of, independent video and filmmaking. 

4. The Association does not limit its sup- 
port to one genre, ideology, or aesthetic, 
but furthers diversity of vision in artistic 
and social consciousness. 

5. The Association champions indepen- 
dent video and film as valuable and vital 
expressions of our culture and is deter- 
mined, by mutual action, to open pathways 
toward exhibition of this work to the com- 
munity at large. 



AIVF RESOLUTIONS 

1. To affirm the creative use of media in 
fostering cooperation, community and 
justice in human relationships without 
respect to age, sex, class, or religion. 

2. To recognize and reaffirm the freedom 
of expression of the independent film and 
videomaker, as spelled out in the AIVF 
principles. 

3. To promote constructive dialogue and 
heightened awareness among the mem- 
bership of the social, artistic, and personal 
choices involved in the pursuit of both in- 
dependent and sponsored work, via such 
mechanisms as screenings and forums. 

4. To continue to work to strengthen 
AIVF's services to independents, in order 
to help reduce the membership's depen- 
dence on the kinds of sponsorship which 
encourage the compromise of personal 
values. 



THE INDEPENDENT 21 



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22 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1985 



FESTIVALS 



MARGARET MEAD FILM FESTIVAL: COMING OF AGE 




\ 



John Cohen's "Mountain Music of Peru" depicted one corner of the "worldwide picture of 
humanity'' at the Margaret Mead Film Festival. 



The annual Margaret Mead Film Festival was in- 
itiated eight years ago in honor of the pioneering 
anthropologist's fiftieth anniversary as a curator 
at the Museum of Natural History — "a tribute 
to her name," says Malcom Arth, festival di- 
rector and chair of the department of education 
at the museum. In the hands of Arth, the festival 
has remained true to Mead's vision of bringing 
visual anthropology to the broadest audience. 

The festival's intention, says Arth, is to pre- 
sent a "worldwide picture of humanity." Over 
the years the traditional concerns of anthropol- 
ogists have been reflected in the festival's choice 
of films; last year's themes included family, 
ritual, urban life, spiritual communities, 
conflicting worlds, and elders and generations. 
Forty-one films (out of approximately 200 
screened by the selection committee) were shown 
to audiences numbered in the thousands. Each is 
presented in one of four auditoriums whose 
capacities range from 80 to 970 seats. Filmgoers 
are free to wander from theater to theater at- 
tending the simultaneously running programs. 

Anthropological films are a subset of the doc- 
umentary genre but are not to be confused with 
purely political films which — along with other 
documentary subsets such as performance, ar- 
chitecture, and science — are not accepted by this 
festival. The festival selection overlaps some- 
APRIL1985 



what with that of Cinema du Reel, which is or- 
ganized in the spring by the library of the Centre 
Georges Pompidou in Paris, although the 
French festival also includes sociological and 
political documentaries. Arth says he and his 
1985 co-programmers, Jonathan Stack and Na- 
thaniel Johnson, are anthropologically oriented 
and therefore concentrate on the "accuracy of a 
film's ethnology — film as film may not be as im- 
portant as an anthropologist's 30-year commit- 
ment." Mark Jury (For All People, For All 
Time, screened at the festival in 1984) said 
Margaret Mead shows "pure anthropological 
films." Last year's offerings included Willy and 
Myriam, by David Benaventi (Chile) in the fami- 
ly category; The Way of Dead Indians, by Jean 
Arland and Michel Perrin, about religious 
rituals; and Xunan by Margrit Keller and Peter 
von Gunten in the "conflicting worlds" category. 
The Margaret Mead Festival has grown and 
established itself over the years so that it is now 
usually approached by filmmakers instead of 
having to solicit work. Programmers from other 
festivals, such as Cinema du Reel's Marielle 
Delorme, attend. Among the festival's most im- 
portant charcteristics are the appearance of film- 
makers and anthropologists before and after 
screenings, and the participatory audiences. 
Diego Echeverria, whose Los Sures premiered at 



Margaret Mead in 1984 and subsequently played 
at the Tyneside, Havana, and New York film fes- 
tivals, called Margaret Mead "one of the best 
festivals around," citing its "very encouraging 
audiences" which he "otherwise wouldn't 
reach." He described the Mead audience as 
"sophisticated" compared to that of the New 
York Film Festival where, he said, "documen- 
taries very often play a secondary role, hidden by 
the aura surrounding feature films." He added, 
"A lot of filmmakers and film students in- 
terested in documentaries attend the festival. 
You hear wonderful conversations — relation- 
ships develop in the lobbies. There is a vivid in- 
terchange of ideas." Echeverria was clearly 
moved by what he called the "refreshing sense of 
seeing others working on different subjects with 
different perceptions and different sets of eyes." 
But, like other filmmakers, Echeverria said there 
was not enough time for filmmakers to meet. 

For Echeverria' s film — which the festival pro- 
gram describes as "portraits of five Hispanic 
residents of Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighbor- 
hood" — there was an important "intellectual 
community" in attendance: "people who are 
teaching Latin American subjects and urban 
issues." But for the committed filmmaker the 
rewards of the festival go beyond the response 
his or her own film receives. "There is interesting 
work you can't see elsewhere," Echeverria said. 
"Brazilian, Chilean..." Filmmaker Mark 
Ranee — whose five-year verite journey into the 
intensely personal politics of his family, Death 
and the Singing Telegram, was shown at the 
festival last year — said, "The real test for me was 
that people [at the festival] talked about what's 
in the films, rather than just the technical 
aspects." Ranee says his type of film — shot from 
a single point of view, by one person, with one 
camera, over an extended period of time — is 
well-represented at the festival. "Ethnographic 
filmmakers are into the first person," he said. 
Arth added that the trend in ethnographic film- 
making is to "involve the subjects in the film 
itself. Much less often does a crew go in shooting 
as outsiders." He noted that there is "a will- 
ingness to acknowledge the presence of the film- 
maker" and to "allow people to speak for 
themselves." 

Like the American Film Festival, Margaret 
Mead offers distributors an opportunity to see 
films in a theater with an audience. Mark Jury 
said, "People can look at your film without you 
having to go door to door. Museum people read 
about the festival and look forward to it." The 
rental fee and small travel stipend offered by the 
festival were described by Jury, not ungratefully, 
as a "token in the right direction. Usually you 
THE INDEPENDENT 23 




Marion Eaton and underground filmmaker George Kuchar in Curt McDowell's "Sparkle's Tavern," 
Lesbian and Gay Film Festival. 



screened at the San Francisco International 



suffer a net loss with a festival." The staff, Jury 
said, is "top-notch. They do what they say 
they're going to do. They're on your side." 

In 1984, for the first time, the festival charged 
admission above the pay-what-you-wish cost of 
entering the museum. Apparently it has built up 
a loyal enough following to be able to sell tickets 
as a way of subsidizing and hopefully institu- 
tionalizing the event. This year, the festival 
received its first grant from the New York State 
Council on the Arts; previously, support had 
come exclusively from the museum, although 
there was no permanent budget line. According 
to Arth, ticket sales now cover one-half of costs. 

Margaret Mead does not accept video entries, 
although it has programmed some videotapes, 
such as Hubert Smith's four-part The Living 
Maya, screened in 1981 . Arth explained, "It's an 
enormous task just looking at film. Video is 
another festival." But he added that "video may 
be the wave of the future." 

Among Arth's most tangible concerns is 
funding for the training of talented filmmakers 
who are "without independent means." He says 
that "a lot of independent filmmakers come 
from privileged backgrounds," implying that 
the diversity already apparent at Margaret Mead 
could be enhanced many times over by input 
from a broader cross section of the population. 
He is also concerned that "people who have 
made great documentaries are moving into 
features." But his hope is that "like a great actor 
who returns to the theater, periodically they'll go 
24 THE INDEPENDENT 



back to documentaries and use their skill and 
talent for another purpose besides straight enter- 
tainment." It takes, he says, "a commitment to a 
value system." — Robert Aaronson 

Deadline: present until May 1. Festival will be 
held Sept. 9-12. Formats: 16 and 35mm. Con- 
tact: Malcolm Arth or Jonathan Stack, Educa- 
tion Dept., American Museum of Natural His- 
tory, Central Park West at West 79th St., New 
York, NY 10024; (212) 873-1070. 



SAN FRANCISCO LESBIAN 
AND GAY FESTIVALS: 
A CABLECAR 
NAMED DESIRE 

Nineteen eighty-four was a very good year for 
the San Francisco International Lesbian and 
Gay Film Festival. According to festival director 
Michael Lumpkin, it was the first time in eight 
years of existence that the festival was in the 
black. In response to its improved program- 
ming, better attendance, and expanded coverage 
by the local non-gay press, Variety included the 
festival in its list of 1985 festivals, and Frameline, 
the group which organizes the festival, became 
one of only two lesbian/gay organizations in 
California to receive a grant from the California 
Arts Council. 



The San Francisco International Lesbian and 
Gay Film Festival was started in June 1977 as a 
two-hour program of short gay and lesbian films 
selected from open entry and showing during 
Gay Pride Week. The fifth festival in 1981 saw a 
dramatic and risky expansion to six days of pro- 
grams. The festival added contemporary fea- 
tures such as A Woman Like Eve (The 
Netherlands) and historical lesbian films like 
Maedchen in Uniform (1932), and guests such as 
Vito Russo, who gave a talk on "The Celluloid 
Closet: The History of Homosexuality in the 
Movies." In 1984, almost 50 films were shown, 
with about half solicited by the festival. 

Lumpkin, who is also president of the Frame- 
line board of directors, describes Frameline as 
"an organization dedicated to the presentation 
and preservation of lesbian and gay cinema." 
The board of 12 boasts only two active filmmak- 
ers, assistant director of the festival John Wright 
and film editor Jeff Watts. Another board 
member is videomaker John Canalli, who 
directs the San Francisco Lesbian and Gay Video 
Festival. In October, Frameline presented the 
West Coast premiere of Before Stonewall; this 
year, planned events include screenings of a 
documentary on Paul Cadmus and Abuse, the 
latest film by Arthur Bressan, Jr. 

Liz Stevens, filmmaker and co-owner of Iris 
Films, a feminist distribution company, was a 
judge in both 1982 and 1983. She describes the 
range of entries as "very personal, some very 
strange, some very dear." The primary criterion 

APRIL 1985 



for selection is "content above anything else." 
Stevens noted, "We look for something that 
rings true, that isn't offensive, and we're not 
afraid of propaganda films." Lumpkin echoed 
her comments, citing as a main consideration 
"the honesty of the statement that the filmmaker 
is making, although it may not be what the au- 
dience wants to see." Technical considerations 
are secondary; however, an unreadable (e.g. in- 
audible or out of focus) film will be rejected. 

The Castro Theater, where some festival films 
are shown, is located in the heart of the gay 
district and is a movie palace if ever there was 
one, with 1 ,500 seats, grandiose art deco interior, 
and a functioning Wurlitzer organ. The festival's 
other venue, the Roxie, is a considerably more 
modest repertory theater situated in the Mission, 
where women's bars and bookstores coexist with 
Hispanic corner markets. Filmmaker Curt 
McDowell says both theaters draw their regular 
clientele to the festival. 

Awards are given in the categories of best 
feature, best documentary, best short, and best 
Super-8 film. 

The solicited feature films, tracked through a 
growing network of worldwide contacts, receive 
the lion's share of prepublicity and draw the au- 
diences. Inevitably, it's also the feature films that 
get picked up for theatrical runs (the Greek 
Angel, the Spanish IlDiputado, Nestor Almen- 
dros's Improper Conduct) and for other 
festivals. The Sprinter (West Germany) and The 
Black Lizard (Japan) were scheduled for the 
1984 New York Gay Film Festival after showing 
up in San Francisco's. 

Last fall, Lumpkin took a program of Super-8 
gay and lesbian films to a new gay and lesbian 
film festival in Brussels. The Belgian organizers 
will reciprocate with a similar package for this 
year's San Francisco festival. 

The San Francisco Lesbian and Gay Video 
Festival, also under the auspices of Frameline, is 
run almost single-handedly by John Canalli, 
although he calls upon the support of a screening 
committee of six. The video festival accepts V* " 
and Vi " VHS, on all subjects, but the 
videomaker must be lesbian or gay. Of 50 entires 
last year, 15 were screened, and 1 1 were included 
in a "Traveling Festival" tape that was offered to 
suitable outlets such as bars and campus net- 
works across the country. 

Canalli admits that last year's video festival 
was negligibly attended, suffering from too long 
a program and too little publicity. After four 
years of viewing entries for the festival, Canalli 
now advises videomakers to keep their pieces 
under 10 minutes. He hosts a weekly half-hour 
show on public access TV, where he shows tapes 
selected from festival entries. He says he is 
desperate to see more work from women, 
blacks, and third world videomakers, and that 
his aim is to create a network of gay video artists 
who do serious, quality work. 

The film festival is also desperate for films by 
women — "a good lesbian feature is a real coup," 
APRIL 1985 



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says Liz Stevens. Michael Lumpkin says he 
would like to see more U.S. features. But many 
filmmakers worry that screening at a gay/lesbian 
festival will "ghettoize" their film. 

Ironically, efforts by Frameline and other gay 
film groups to open doors for lesbian and gay 
filmmakers are starting to result in greater com- 
petition from "straight" festivals for their films. 
San Francisco freelance film critic Penni Kimmel 
points to the inclusion of major gay films like 
The Terence Davies Trilogy and Bressan's Abuse 
in the 1984 San Francisco International Film 
Festival, which took place a couple of months 
before the lesbian and gay festival. 

Although Kimmel criticizes the quality and 
amount of the festival's publicity last year, she 
describes the event as "fantastically successful." 
The San Francisco Chronicle, the city's largest 
daily, ran reviews of some festival films and film- 
maker interviews in its Sunday arts section. The 
gay and lesbian press has been consistently sup- 
portive of the festival. Last year's festival budget 
was $33,000; this year it is $40,000. Hopefully, 
the increase in budget will be reflected by ex- 
panded media coverage and in a maintenance of 
last year's quality. — Fran Christie 



The ninth San Franciso International Lesbian 
and Gay Film Festival will take place June 24-30. 



Deadline: April 15. For film entry forms, write 
to Frameline, c/o Michael Lumpkin, 650 Guer- 
rero St., San Francisco, CA 94110. For video en- 
try forms, write to John Canalli, 182-B, San 
Francisco, CA 94114; (415) 861-0843. 

Fran Christie is a freelance writer and editor in 
Berkeley, California. 



LOCARNO: 
BIG CHEESE 

The Locarno International Film Festival is the 
"big cheese" of Swiss events. Endowed with a 
fun-in-the-sun location, it's a festival that at- 
tracts a large tourist population and ardent cine- 
philes. Director David StreifPs program ranges 
from megabudget films out of competition to a 
retrospective of films from the Italian studio Lux 
from 1934-1954. Sandwiched between these 
popular items is the competition; in 1984, Jim 
Jarmusch's Stranger than Paradise, which came 
to Locarno via Cannes, won the gold leopard. 
Rob Nilsson's Signal 7 was also accepted by the 
festival but pulled out at the last minute due to 
THE INDEPENDENT 25 



what were labeled "technical inadequacies" (no 
subtitles, bad print). Keep in mind. 

A second-year offshoot of the festival is the 
TV movies competition. Last year it received 102 
entries; 16 were chosen to compete, and 69 were 
placed in an information program. Over 22 
countries were represented; several U.S. entries 
were shown, including Bill Duke's The Killing 
Floor. 

Locarno's projection facilities are excellent. A 
bar and cafe is an easy meeting ground for film- 
makers. Press conferences are numerous and 
well-organized (French, German or Italian trans- 
lations only), and the media coverage is extensive. 
A small film market has been organized for the 
first time this year. Small touches like an exhibi- 
tion of Fellini drawings or Swiss cinema screenings 
round out an agreeable festival experience. 

— Jacqueline Leger 

The festival is held in August. Selection is com- 
pleted by mid-May. Contact: Locarno Interna- 
tional Film Festival, Festival Office c.p. 186, 
6601 Muralto-Locarno, Swizerland. 



Jacqueline Leger is a filmmaker and journalist in 
Switzerland. 



IN BRIEF 



This month's festivals have been 
compiled by Robert Aaronson. 
Listings do not constitute an en- 
dorsement, and since some details 
change faster than we do, we 
recommend that you contact the 
festival for further information 
before sending prints or tapes. If 
your experience differs from our ac- 
count, please let us know so we can 
improve our reliability. 



DOMESTIC 



• BLACKLIGHT, July 27-Aug. 3 (approx.), 
Chicago. For the 4th consecutive year director Floyd 
Webb hopes to compile an international selection of 
the newest & best works for the world of progressive 
& international black film & videomaking. Countries 

26 THE INDEPENDENT 



previously represented include parts of Africa, 
England, the West Indies, & New Guinea. Webb will 
be traveling to Burkina Faso to invite works screened 
as FESPACO '85. Festival invites submissions for 
black film & videomakers with works on any subject, 
or others with works on important black subjects. In 
1984 Blacklight screened St. Clair Bourne's On the 
Boulevard & Maulala by Cuba's Sergio Geral, who 
was in attendance, as well as Allen Greenberg's The 
Land of Look Behind. A retrospective of Senegelese 
filmmaker Ousmane Senbene is in the works. 
7,000-8,000 filmgoers expected to attend. Non- 
competitive. Rental fees paid. Formats: 16mm, 
35mm, V* " video. Contact: Floyd Webb, 1331 West 
Lunt IE, Chicago, IL 60626; (312) 225-1800 or 
248-3457. 

• CALIFORNIA STUDENT MEDIA FESTIVAL, 
June 1, San Diego. The 19th showcase for films & 
video produced by students from kindergarten 
through community college gives awards for news, 
documentary, drama, animation etc., for works 
under 10 mins. This year's theme is "The 1980's: A 
Decade of Change." Deadlines: May 1. Formats: 
S-8, 16mm, Beta, VHS, V* " & open reel. Contact: 
Bill Male, Communications Dept., Mesa High 
School, 1051 Reagan Rd.; San Diego, CA 92126; 
(619) 566-2262, ext. 258. Your teacher must sign the 
entry form. 

• CHINSEGUT FILM /VIDEO CONFERENCE, 

May (tent.), Reddington Beach, FL. 8th annual event 
organized by Atlantic Productions in Tampa. '84 
participants included Les Blank, Steve Seigal, Dan 
Appelby & Bruce Carlson, Andy Anderson, 
{Catherine Matheson, Ralph Arlyck, & Phil Trumbo. 
Organizer Stan Kozma says that they're interested in 
presenting a "balance in media," including 
documentary, personal film, video art, performance, 
& "non-proscenium exhibition of films." Audiences 
run to 1,000 over 3 days. Registration: S30. Hotel 
rooms at the Charming Tides Hotel are S32 per night. 
Contact: Atlantic Productions, 10002 Lola St., Tam- 
pa, FL 33612; (813) 971-2547. 

• MAINE STUDENT FILM FESTIVAL, June 1, 
Portland. Open to work by Maine's filmmakers 
under 19. Sponsored by the Maine Alliance of Media 
Arts, awards are given in elementary, jr. high & high 
school categories. Last year's winners available on 
videocassette for rental. Local NBC affiliate WCSH 
broadcasts winners. Deadline: May 15. Contact: 
Huey; (217) 773-1130. 

• MILL VALLEY FILM/VIDEO FESTIVAL, 
Sept. 19-26, CA. Programmer John Webber calls 
Mill Valley a "celebration of film," noting that his 
selection is "broad & eclectic," light & more accessi- 
ble than San Francisco, from which he nonetheless 
gets a number of works. Screenings in 2 Mill Valley 
theaters show features & shorts, & another 
auditorium shows a wide variety of video. Last year's 
selections included Jack Kerouac's America, 
Sparkle's Tavern, The Gospel According to Al 
Green, & over 40 others. Video featured music, art & 
documentary. Weber is particularly interested in 
making filmmakers accessible to the public & en- 
courages discussions before & after screenings. 
Deadline: June 1. Formats: 16 & 35mm features, & 
shorts under 15 min. For video contact: Zoe Elton, 
Richard Jett. Festival director is Rita Cahill, 80 
Lomita Dr., Suite 20, Mill Valley, CA 94941; (415) 
383-5256. 

• NEWARK MUSEUM OF BLACK FILM- 
MAKERS FESTIVAL, July & Aug., NJ. 1st com- 
petition for this annual showcase of independent & 
commercial films by black filmmakers or about 
black subjects. Categories include animation, 
documentary, experimental, & narrative. No entry 
fee. Auditorium seats 450 & is always full for free 



events. Fee: $20- $25. Judges include filmmakers and 
Uptown Saturday Night screenwriter Richard 
Wesley. Call for deadline. Contact: Mary Sue 
Sweeney, Newark Museum, 49 Washington St., Box 
540, Newark, NJ 07101; (201) 733-6600. 

• PHILADELPHIA INTERNATOINAL FILM 
AND VIDEO FESTIVAL, July 24-28. Theme for 
8th "Philafilm" is "Through the Eyes of Minority & 
Independent Directors." Ail entries selected receive 
public screening. Last year, Pierre Barton's The 
Wedding won Best Film & Gerald Saldo & Joan 
Engel's No Immediate Danger won Best Video. Craig 
Davison was informed in the midst of the festival last 
year that his film The Sun Was Always Shining 
Someplace: Life in the Negro Baseball Leagues had 
won a cash award, but he never received it & his film 
was never returned. Bureaucratic incompetence 
rather than reckless disregard seems to be the prob- 
lem. Insure your film! Separate market for entries 
out of competition. Although independent is byword 
of fest, categories included "client/product, ad agen- 
cy, & distributor." Papers & articles invited for 
festival souvenir book. Fees: $50-$ 100. Deadline: 
May 15. Contact: Laurence Smallwood or Brenda 
Collins, International Association of Motion Picture 
& Televison Producers/Urban Coalition, 121 N. 
Broad St., 6th fl., Philadelphia, PA 19107; (215) 
977-2831. 

• PSA-MPD AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL 
FILM FESTIVAL, July 29-Aug. 4, Seattle. Billed as 
"the oldest continuous running festival in the 
world," the Photographic Society of America pro- 
motes work of amateur filmmakers & screens win- 
ning films in amateur, student, & commercial 
categories under 50 mins. at their annual convention. 
Includes fiction, documentary, experimental, travel 
& narrative. Fees: $12-$17. Deadline: May 1. Con- 
tact: Tim Kinnally, Chair, 6618 Parkside Dr., Tinley 
Pk., IL 60477; (312) 532-2540. 

• SLICE OF LIFE SHOWCASE, July 12-13, State 
College, PA. Filmmakers from the Mid-Atlantic 

region are invited to submit work in conjunction with 
the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, where 
250,000 are expected. Films should document "sim- 
ply and realistically the unique performances of 
everyday life — those moments of truth & beauty that 
would otherwise go unrecognized." Filmmakers in- 
vited to attend screening & participate in discussions. 
Cash awards, accommodations & trav el stipend. Fee. 
$10. Deadline: May 1. Format: 16mm. Contact: Slice 
of Life, 848 Elmwood St., State College, PA 16801; 
(814)234-7886. 

• VERMONT INDEPENDENT FILM 

FESTIVAL, Aug. 20-24, Montpelier. Organized by 
Walter Ungerer & Dark Horse Films to bring alter- 
native, independent filmmaking to northern New 
England. Each day is devoted to a different film- 
maker who is invited to lecture & discuss their work. 
Previous guests have included Ellen Hovde & Grace 
Paley, Christine Dall & Randall Conrad. No open 
call, but Ungerer says filmmakers are welcome to 
send resumes & bios for future reference. Program 
sold out last year. Local TV & newspapers give exten- 
sive coverage. 1985 will feature a Norman McClaren 
retrospective & an appearance by Manny Kirch- 
heimer with his Stations of the Elevated. Deadline: 
June 30. Contact: Dark Horse Films, PO Box 982, 
Montpelier VT 05602; (802) 223-3967. 

• VIDEO FREE HAWAII, June 15, Honolulu. 
This all-volunteer group programmed 17 tapes for a 
day-long exhibit in 1984, its 9th outing. Over 600 
people attended. Event attracts lots of local press. 
According to director Steve Mobley, it's a combina- 
tion of promoting local talent & bringing in work that 
would not normally be seen in Hawaii. "We're partly 
political, partly artistic, & partly educational." In- 

APRIL1985 



eluded in last year's event was work by Skip 
B'umberg, as well as the nationwide Disarmament 
Survey. Due to federal funding cuts in the State Arts 
Fund, plans for a gala 10th have been scaled down, 
but the event remains very popular. Deadline: May 
15. Include return postage and reusable mailer. No 
fee. 1 hour max. running time. Format: l A ". Con- 
tact: Video Fee Hawaii, 2106 Oahu Ave., Honolulu, 
HI 96822; (808)955-1918. 

• WES FRANCIS AUDIOVISUAL EX- 
CELLENCE (WAVE) CONTEST, Oct. 25-27, 
Dallas. Sponsored by the National Recreation & 
Park Assoc. Work must relate to recreation & parks, 
e.g. sports, museums, leisure. 3-day national meeting 
attracts 5,000-6,000 members of NRPA. Maker has 
option of giving NRPA non-profit distribution 
rights. Festival director Mary Kroencke says they're 
interested in broadening the scope of submissions. 
No fee. Deadline: May 31. Formats: 16mm & 3 A ". 
Contact: Mary Kroencke, NRPA, 3101 Park Center 
Dr., Alexandria, VA 22302; (703) 820-4940. 



FOREIGN 



• AMERICAN MEDICAL WRITERS ASSOCIA- 
TION, October 30-Nov. 2, Montreal. 10th annual 
event promotes "film and videos produced for the 
medical & allied health sciences." Categories include 
professional education, patient education, public in- 
formation, public relations/promotion. Winners 
shown at AMWA annual conference. Dramatic films 
not eligible; films must be completed since 1983. 
Deadline: May 15. Fees: $70-$85. Include return 
postage for works submitted. Format: 16mm & V* ". 
Contact: Carolyn W. Capowski, UNC School of 
Pharmacy, Beard Hall 200H, Chapel Hill, NC 
27514. 

• BANFF TELEVISION FESTIVAL, June 2-8, 
Canada. Competition for films made for TV & aired 
April 1983-85. Categories include drama, docu- 
mentary & children's. Executive seminars & on- 
demand screening facilities enhance business at- 
mosphere. U.S. submissions in '83 included 
WQED/Pittsburgh, Les Blank's Burden of Dreams, 
Skip Sweeney's My Father Sold Studebakers, J.T. 
Takagi & Chris Choy's Bittersweet Survival, & Meg 
Switzgable's In Our Water. Fee: $100. Deadline: 
April (forms); April 8 (films). Format: V* " only. Ap- 
plications & attendance registration forms available 
at AIVF (send SASE) Contact: Banff TV Festival, 
Box 1020, Banff, Alberta, Canada, TOL OCO; (403) 
767-3060. 

• ODENSE FILM FESTIVAL, Aug. 4-10, Den- 
mark. Biennial event "in the spirit of Hans Christian 
Anderson" for films under 60 mins. In 1983, 200 
were submitted & 103 selected for competition. For- 
merly restricted to animated & puppet films, festival 
now welcomes "avant-garde, abstract, experimental, 
surrealistic, underground" works. By-word is 
"creative delight." Even the jury is selected "in the 
spirit of H.C.A." Cash prizes of $5,000 & $2,500. 
Maker agrees to broadcast on Danish TV for pay- 
ment. Formats: 16 & 35mm. Deadline: May (forms); 
June (films). Event includes filmmakers seminars. 
Applications available at AIVF (send SASE). Con- 
tact: Association of Danish Filmmakers, Vindegarde 
18, DK-5000, Odense C Denmark; tel. 9-13-13-72 
EXT. 4294. 

• SECOND INTERNATIONAL SUPERS FILM 
FESTIVAL IN SWEDEN, April 19-21, Lund City. 
Organized by a group at the University of Lund. Ap- 
plication requires a still from the film or of the direc- 
tor & a "short summary of the film or the idea behind 
it." Work selected for competition will tour 
throughout Scandinavia & be returned by May 25. 

APRIL 1985 



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Deadline: April 2. Fee: $9. Contact: Super-8 Festival, 
Kursverksanheten Vid Lunde Universitet 
Skomakaragtan 8, S-223 50, Lund, Sweden; tel. 
46-46-11-77-20: telex 33533. Applications available 
at AIVF (send SASE). 

e THE SOUTHERN AFRICAN ARTS TRUST 
FUND ANNUAL VIDEO FESTIVAL, Oct. & 
Nov., University of Botswana. "Purpose of the 
festival is to provide Botswana audiences with alter- 
native insights into South Africa on issues such as 
forced removals, death in detention, police brutality 
& different forms of resistance to oppression." 
Videos exhibited included To the Last Drop of Blood 
& UDF Launch, from the United Democratic Front; 
the BBC's documentary Sandra Laing, & Six Feet of 
the Country, based on a short story by Nadine Gor- 
dimer. The Trust Fund is a support organization for 
progressive filmmakers. Contact: Southern African 
Arts Trust Fund, PO Box 2037, Garborone, 
Botswana. 

e VELDEN FILM FESTIVAL OF NA TIONS, 
June 3-9, Austria. Well-established, government 
supported annual "amateur" event awards prizes for 
S-8 & 16mm films not exceeding 25 mins. Categories 
include documentation, travel, games & fantasy/ex- 
perimental. Films may be aired on Austrian TV. In- 
clude return postage. Reservations for attendance in- 
cludes parties, discussions, dinners & "free admis- 
sion to the gambling casino at Velden." Deadline: 
April 30. Contact: W. Eisner or Hans Falle, Organis- 
ationskmitec Kurdirektion A-9220 Velden a. W.S., 
Kartner Kustura; tel. 04274/2105; telex 42-2604. 
Regulations available at AIVF (send SASE). 

• VENICE INTERNATIONAL FILM 
FESTIVAL, Aug.-Sept., Italy. The 1984 selection 
committee, according to director Gian Luigi Rondi, 
screened 46 U.S. features in preparation for the 
festival & selected only 1: Maria's Lovers. So go 
figure. Traditionally, commercial pictures highlight 
this event, but last year's 1st TV section afforded in- 
dependents a chance to be seen on the Lido. Included 
were William Duke's The Killing Floor & Haunting 
Passion by John Korty; The Dollmaker by Daniel 



Petrie was scheduled but pulled out after screening at 
Locarno. Wildrose by John Hanson unspooled in the 
Critic's Week. 1984 also premiered an MTV-like 
sidebar. Jerry Banish sent a a copy of his film Recent 
Sorrows for selection & received neither a response 
nor his tape. Contact: Spettacolo-TV San Marco, 
Ca' Giustunian 30100, Venezia, Italy; tel: 4170 031 1; 
telex: 410685 BLE VEI. 

e WELLINGTON FILM FESTIVAL, July, New 
Zealand. 1984 was the 13th year for this 15-day non- 
competitive event. 30,000 attended 54 features. 
Selections made from other "recognized" festivals. 
This major Pacific showcase includes independent 
work in 16mm among an international mix of com- 
mercial productions. Director Bill Gosden, in 
defending his choice of A Woman in Flames to open 
fest, told Variety," A good abrasive, controversial 
film opening should be what festivals are about." 
Formats: 16 & 35mm. Short subjects accepted. 
Deadline: April 15 (features); May 15 (shorts). Con- 
tact: PO Box 9544, Courtney Place, Wellington, New 
Zealand. 



Correction: Christiane Roget, U.S promoter for the 
Cartegna Film Festival (see Jan. -Feb. Independent), 
can be reached at (305) 856-1911; telex 820384 
BROTHERS, to her attention. The previously 
published number was incorrect. 



THE INDEPENDENT 27 



IN AND OUT OF PRODUCTION 






Three teenagers from Somerville, Massachusetts spend an aimless 
afternoon in "Vacant Lot," produced by Kate Davis and directed by 
Ken Selden. 



Marjory Hunt and Paul Wagner's "The Stone Carvers" was one 
of several independent films nominated for an Academy 
Award in the short subject documentary category. 



Mary Guzzy 

with Deborah Erickson 



From coast to cost there is a rebirth of the 
"homage" film, in which tried-and-true movie 
formulas like whodunnit and horror stories are 
given new life and sometimes new angles by 
young producers and directors. There's Blood 
Simple, of course. But this is hardly the only re- 
cent example; for instance, the Boston Movie 
Company premiered its 90-minute, black-and- 
white feature, Screamplay. in November 1984, 
at Boston's Institute of Contemporary Art. 
Screamplay assembles a barrage of misfits who 
are killed off one by one in bizarre ways and 
honors the B-movie genre that spawned such 
classics as Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? 
Produced by Dennis Piana and directed by 
Rufus Butler Seder, who also plays the naive 
young murder-movie writer Edgar Allen, Scream- 
play features a star turn by underground movie 
great George Kuchar as Martin, owner of the 
grisly Welcome Apartments. 

In the works is the San Francisco Tenth Street 
Production Group's Dracula's Disciple, "a vam- 
pire film with a twist," scheduled for release in 
late 1 985 . Production manager Sandra Van Fleet 
writes that this first feature by the group will be 
"cost-conscious" and contain "great production 
values." The film is being directed by Allen 
Schaaf. 



Even as Jeanne Kirkpatrick returns to private 
life, Marjory and Robert Potts of Vineyard 
Video Productions have been awarded a $40,240 
scriptwriting and research grant from the Na- 
tional Endowment for the Humanities for a film 
about Frances Perkins, Secretary of Labor 
under FDR. The producers are looking for foot- 
age and stills depicting working conditons, 
especially for women and children, in New York 
from 1919-1932, as well as photos and film of 
sweatshop conditions from 1908-1919. Anyone 
with such material should contact the Frances 
Perkins Film Project, Inc., 109 West 77th St., 
New York, NY 10024; (212) 724-8936. 

On the other side of the continent, Lucy 
Ostrander of Ostrander Productions in Seattle 
has completed a documentary about one of 
Frances Perkins's more radical contemporaries. 
Witness to Revolution: The Story of Anna 
Louise Strong, Ostrander's thesis for Stanford 
University, is the filmic biography of a Seattle 
minister's daughter and social worker-turned- 
partisan reporter who covered every major polit- 
ical revolution of the early twentieth century. In 
China, where Strong is buried and revered as a 
heroine, Ostrander obtained rare archival 
footage from the Peking Archives. Witness to 
Revolution premiered in Seattle in November 
1984. 

West Coast independents are in the spotlight this* 
month for their unflinching exploration of dif- 
ficult topics. Los Angeles producer Kirby Dick 
has released his 58-minute video documentary, 
Private Practices: The Story of a Sex Surrogate, 
a portrait of two male patients and the female 



surrogate who works with them to minimize 
their sexual anxiety. Using a stark visual style, 
the videomaker avoids sensationalizing the sub- 
ject matter and reveals more than the physical 
aspects of intimacy problems. 

And Michelle Paymar of Los Angeles has pro- 
duced For Our Lives, a documentary "examin- 
ing the AIDS crisis and the gay community's 
response to the disease." The tape is a project of 
the Gay and Lesbian Community Services Cen- 
ter of Hollywood and the California State De- 
partment of Health Services. It is aimed at 
educational and medical as well as general au- 
diences "interested in learning more about the 
issues surrounding AIDS." It is available 
through the Gay and Lesbian Community Serv- 
ices Center. 

In other documentary news, New Yorker 
Norris Chumley's half-hour video portrait, Lit- 
tle Mike, was licensed to the Arts and Entertain- 
ment Network this past fall. Arts and Entertain- 
ment provided postproduction funds for the 
piece, begun four years ago as a New York 
University student project. Little Mike is the 
story of Michael Anderson, a three-and-a-half- 
foot tall technician for the space shuttle's ground 
support computer system. Little Mike had a 
small budget ($500) and was originally produced 
with a little industrial Beta I system, but it had a 
giant commitment from its producer/ director, 
who at various times acted as cameraperson, 
lighting designer, soundperson, and editor. 

Richard Kostelanetz, also of New York, teamed 
up with West German filmmaker Martin 
Koerber in 1984 to produce Fin Veriorenes 



28 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL1985 



Berlin (A Lost Berlin), a 21 -minute film about 
the Great Jewish Cemetery of Berlin, that has 
been shown at the Berlin and Oberhausen film 
festivals. Its soundtrack is composed of 
testimony by ex-Berliners. Kostelanetz and 
Koerber also produced Ett Forlorat Berlin for 
Swedish TV, with a new soundtrack of Swedish- 
speaking ex-Berliners, and they're currently 
working on versions of the film in English, 
French, Dutch, Danish, Hebrew, Yiddish and 
perhaps Portuguese. 

Product director Jack Walworth saw his video 
satire, Independents Tonite, presented in the 
Whitney Museum's New American Film Series, 
"Reviewing TV," in December 1984. Written in 
collaboration with Whit Johnston, Indepen- 
dents Tonite depicts several stereotypes of the 
communications field, from the humorless 
"political filmmaker" to the seemingly apolitical 
(and ostensibly amoral) "Hollywood indepen- 
dent," all struggling to change the broadcast 
television system. Walworth and Johnston pit 
their independent caricatures against the system, 
but leave the question of how to change tele- 
vision for "real life" independents to answer. 

Can an award-winning dramatic film be shot 
on a low budget in black-and-white, using non- 
professional actors? In the case of Vacant Lot, a 
30-minute piece produced by Kate Davis and 
directed by Ken Selden, the answer is yes. The 
film, shot in the working-class town of Somer- 
ville, Mass., stars three local teenagers in a large- 
ly improvised script about an aimless afternoon 
in a landscape of misspent youth. Vacant Lot 
won a short film award at the 1 984 Chicago Film 
Festival, and will be shown at the Film Forum in 
New York City, May 22-May 28. 

Several AIVF members received Academy 
Award nominations this year. Nominations for 
best documentary feature went to In the Name 
of the People by Pan-American Films and 
Robert Epstein and Richard Schmiechen's The 
Times of Harvey Milk. Code Gray: Ethical Di- 
lemmas in Nursing, co-produced by the Nursing 
Ethics Committee and Fanlight Productions, 
was nominated for best short subject documen- 
tary, along with The Garden of Eden, by Floren- 
tine Films, and The Stone Carvers, by Marjory 
Hunt and Paul Wagner. Michael Sporne's Dr. 
DeSoto was a contender for best animated short. 
Academy nomination hats were tipped to 
other independents as well. El Norte, by Gregory 
Nava and Anna Thomas, was nominated for 
best original screenplay. Martin Bell and Cheryl 
McCall's Streetwise was nominated for best 
documentary feature, and Charade, by Sheridan 
College, competed for best animated short. Two 
of the three productions vying for best live action 
short were independently produced: Tales of 
Meeting and Parting, by the American Film In- 
stitute Directing Workshop for Women, and 
Up, by Pyramid Films. 

APRIL 1985 



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c/o FIVF, 625 Broadway, 9th floor, 
New York, NY 10012. attn.: Notices. 
For further information, call: (212) 
473-3400. Deadline: 8th of second 
preceding month (e.g. April 8 for 
the June issue). 



Buy •Rent •Sell 

• FOR SALE: Beta 1 editing system. Includes 2 Sony 
383 editors, 1 Sony RM 440 cable. Just serviced, 
excellent condition. James, (201) 963-6075, NJ or 
(802) 257-4760, VT. 

• FOR SALE: Sony TC-142 3-head cassette recorder 
w7 cardiod mike and built-in nicad recharger. James 
Kamp, (212) 685-5733, NY; leave message. 

• FOR SALE: Arri 2-C package w/ variable speed 
motor, 6 400 ' & 200 ' magazines, filter holders & 
filters, all in original cases, original Arri tripod, long 
legs, baby legs. 16mm CP-16 like converted Auricon 
both single system head & amplifier & double system, 
w/ 2 400 ' mags, 12-120 Angenieux zoom lens, very 
sharp. Nagra 3 recorder w/ built-in mike for slates, 
accessories, adaptors, cables, all makes needed for any 
production. Sony 1640 video camera w/ aluminum 
case, batteries, cables. Sony 4800 V* " video recorder 
w/ 3 battery charger, cables. Omni Tota-light kit 
w/extension cables. 2 sunguns. Mint condition. Many, 
PO Box 74, NYC 10025-0074; (212) 662-5364. 

• FOR SALE: Arri-w/ 2 400 ' mags, 3 Schneider 
primes (16, 25, & 50mm), Cine 60 battery belt, Nagra 
III w/ crystal, Sennheiser 416 w7 Rycote 416 
windshield, phantom power, 9v power pack. Many 
accessories included. Everything S4500. Beaulieu R-16 
w/ 200 ' mag, 12-120 Aug. w/ many extras, S900. 
(612) 823-7702, MN. 

• FOR SALE: JVC/KY 2000 3-tube camera, 
CR4400U 3 /4 ■ U-matic deck (new heads), JVC 5 ' 
portable monitor, batteries, AC power supplies, 
cables, cases & tripods. Package $3,000. Erik Lewis 
Productions, (718) 851-8672, NY. 

• FOR RENT: JVC/KY2700 camera package mi 
crew & car, S350/day. Y* " postproduction. Complete 
production packages from idea to finished product. 
Erik Lewis Productions, (718) 851-8672, NY. 

• FOR SALE: Beaulieu R16 w/ Angenieux f. 2.5 
12 x 120mm 200 ' mag, 1000 ma battery & charger, 
metal case, SI 750. Also Sennheiser 816t shotgun 
microphone, S500. Leigh Kahan, PO Box 247, Sum- 
mertown, TN 38483; (615) 964-3574. 

• FOR SALE: Pix/sound available as package or 
separately. Nagra III, French ACL w/ 2 mags and 
variety of hard lenses, camera adaptor for Eclair or 
Arriflex mount lenses. Excellent condition. Black 
Maria, (212) 807-7277, NY. 

• TV BUY: One used 16mm camera: Bolex, Beaulieu, 
Canon or, if reasonable, Eclair NPR. Excellent 
condition only. Katia E. Grossman, 500 E. 77th St., 
NYC 10162; (212) 650-0491. 



Conferences • Workshops 

• BOSTON FILM/VIDEO FOUNDATION 
COURSES & WORKSHOPS: Winter/Spring sessions 
offered Feb. through June on all aspects of film & 
video production. April: Techniques of Interviewing, 
How Video Decks Work, Computer Graphics, Analog 
Image Processing, Basic Video, Basics of Fundraising, 
Anatomy of Script, Video Processing Equipment, 
Digital Image Processing. Media Business Series of- 
fered during May. BF/VF, 1 126 Boylston St., Boston, 
MA; (617) 536-1540. 

• COMPUTER GRAPHICS SEMINARS based 
around Tune Arts Lumena offered by 185 Corpora- 
tion "Stand-By" program and Video Computer 
Animation Workshop. Introductory 1-day seminar, 
$60; intensive 10-hour hands-on workshop, $250. 
Limited enrollment. Rental on broadcast resolution 
Lumena system can be arranged on hourly basis after 
workshop is completed. Carol Chianni, instructor. 
Contact: 185 Corporation, STAND-BY Program, 
1923 Cadman Plaza Sta., Brooklyn, NY 11202; (718) 
768-3334. 

• PROFESSIONAL VIDEO INDUSTRY SEM- 
INAR program offered by North American Television 
Institute (division of Knowledge Industry Publica- 
tions): Hacienda Hotel, Las Vegas, during NAB con- 
vention; Westin- Belle vue Stratford, Philadelphia, 
June 18-21; McCormick Center, Chicago, July 9-12; 
Westin Galleria, Houston, Aug. 13-16. Continuing 
Education units will be awarded. NATI, 701 
Westchester Ave., White Plains, NY 10604; (800) 
248-KIPI or (914) 328-9157. 

• VIDEO INN VIDEO TOOLS WORKSHOPS: 

Teaching series on media and production. Videotex: 
An Artist's Tool, April 22, 23, 24. Scriptwriting for 
Video, April 27, 28, 29. Pre-registration required. 
Limited openings. The Video Inn, (604) 688-4336 or 
688-8827, Canada. 

• ARTS EXTENSION SER VICE at the University of 
Massachusetts, Amherst, sponsors workshops on 
connecting art & business. Raising Corporate Funds, 
Friday, April 19 in Amherst. Earning Money, Friday 
May 3, in Amherst. Craig Dreeszen, AES, Div. of 
Continuing Education, U. Mass/ Amherst, Amherst, 
MA 01003; (413) 545-2360. 

• COMPUTER GRAPHICS DESIGN WORK- 
SHOPS offered by Pratt Center for Computer 
Graphics in Design. Computer Graphics for Print/In- 
tro to Print 85, Westin Hotel O'Hare, Rosemont IL, 
April 14 & 15, $490. Design for Video Graphics, Hyatt 
Regency Cambridge, Cambridge MA, April 27 & 28, 
S490. Electronic Composition for Graphic Design, 
Computer Composition Int'l, Inc., Southgate Tower, 
NYC, May 4 & 5, $490. Pratt Center for Computer 
Graphics in Design, 9 Skyline Dr., Hawthorne, NY 
10532; (914) 592-1155. 

• LPTV WEST '85: Conference & exhibition spon- 
sored by National Institute for Low Power Television 
at the Westin Bonaventure, Los Angeles, May 14&15. 
Over 150 suppliers; seminars on financing, program- 
ming, management; how-to courses for low power 
operators; programming awards. Carol Harrison, 
Conference Management Corp., 17 Washington St., 
Norwalk, CT 06854; (203) 852-0500. 



Editing Facilities 



30 THE INDEPENDENT 



• STEENBECKS FOR RENT: 8 & 6-plate. Delivered 

APRIL 1985 






S> 



TC 



E ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT VIDEO 
AND FILMMAKERS MEANS: 



• Comprehensive health, disability and equipment insurance at affordable rates 

■ The Festival Bureau: your inside track to international and domestic film and video festivals 

• Advocacy: lobbying in Washington and throughout the country to promote the interests of independent producers 

• Access to funding, distribution, technical and programming information 

■ Professional seminars and screenings 

■ Discounts on publications, car rentals and production services 

AND 

A subscription to THE INDEPENDENT Film & Video Monthly, the only national film and video magazine tailored 
to your needs ( 10 issues per year) 





/*\-V« 




■ 1 




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There's strength in numbers. 



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oin AIVF Today, and Get a One-Year Subscription to 
THE INDEPENDENT Magazine. 

Enclosed is my check or money order for: 

□ $35 year individual 

□ (Add S10.00 for first-class mailing of 
THE INDEPENDENT.) 

□ $20/year student (enclose proof of student ID) 

□ $50/year library (subscription only) 

□ $75/year organization 

□ $45/year foreign (outside the US, Canada 
and Mexico) 



Name 

Ad d ress 

City 

Country (if outside US)_ 
Telephone 



State _ 



Lip- 



Send check or money order to: AIVF, 625 Broadway, 9th floor, 
New York, NY 10012; or call ( 2 12 ) 473-3400. 



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to your workspace. Reasonable rates by the month. 
Octavio, (718) 855-8366, NY. 

mii' EDITING: JVC 8250 w/convergence con- 
troller, $20/hr. Discounts for long-term projects. On 
Track Video, (212) 864-5166, NY. 

• V t " VIDEO EDITING W/new Sony 5850 decks & 
RM440 controller, $15/hr. V* ", VHS & Beta duplica- 
tions, $10/hr. Tape stock also available. Video Deal 
Productions, (212) 254-3298, NY. 

• NEGATIVE MATCHING: 16mm, Super 16mm, 
35mm. A&B rolls cut, conforming for negative-to- 
tape transfers or 16-to-35mm blowup. Reasonable 
rates. References available. One White Glove, (718) 
897^145, NY. 

• STAND-BY EDITING & COMPUTER SERV- 
ICE: Has new name but still works with commercial 
editing facilities to provide access for artists & students 
on state-of-the-art equipment. Will continue to review 
eligibility applications & offer technical assistance, but 
will no longer guarantee funds to the editing facility. 
Artists must pay directly. 185 Corporation, Box 1923, 
Cadman Plaza, Brooklyn, NY 1 1202; (718) 768-3334. 

• QUALITY EDITING ROOM FOR LESS: V* " & 
VHS-to- 3 /i " Convergence Super 90, Tapehandlers, 
Adda TBC, fades, time code reader-generator, over- 
dubs. New equipment, comfortable, friendly environ- 
ment in Lincoln Center area. Experienced editors, 
scripting, Chyron available. $20/hr. during business 
hours for AIVF members editing non-commercial pro- 
jects. Hank Dolmatch, TV Enterprises, Inc., (212) 
874-4524, NY. 

• NEW HORIZON STUDIOS offers creative off-line 
editing in comfortable surroundings at award-winning 
production house. System includes Tapehandlers 
w/new RM86U, TBC, 3M Proc, waveform, Ikegami 
title camera, CG, 16-ch. audio mixing, JVC KM 2000 
SEG, Chroma key, time code capability. $90/hr. Con- 
venient midtown location. (212) 490-9082, NY. 

• X " EDITING/ POSTPRODUCTION: Left & in- 
dependent documentaries our first love. Sony 5850 
system, SMPTE time code, Microgen character 
generator, full sound mix, Ikegami & JVC cameras, 
Sony BVU 1 10&4800decks. Post is $40/ hr. w/ editor, 
10% discount to AIVF members. Debbie or David, 
29th Street Video, (212) 594-7530, NY. 



Films • Tapes Wanted 

• CULTURE SHOCK: New cable series looking for 
short videotapes: funny, offbeat, upbeat, off-the-wall, 
interesting, weird. Any format, VHS, Beta, V* ", 
16mm. Non-exclusive contract w/ fair prices. Submis- 
sions returned within 30 days of receipt. Tim Radford, 
Culture Schock, Box 2040, Middleburg, VA 22117; 
(703) 687-6404. 

• A CCESS COL UMBUS needs programming for ex- 
panded 24-hour/day schedule, beaming out to 165,000 
homes. Arts/Entertainment, News/Public Affairs, 
Social Service, Religion, Sports/Health/Fitness. No 
rental fees yet. Michael Langthorne, Asst. Director, 
3CA, 394 Oak St., Columbus, OH 43215. 

• FILM FEATURES WANTED For distribution to 
broadcast TV. Must be at least 90-mins. Send press kits 
or inquiries to: Channel Syndication, P.O. Box 7875, 
FDR Station, NYC 10150. 

• CINCINNA TI VIDEO PROJECT offers payment 
for film & video works shown on weekly cable access 
programs examining development of independent pro- 
duction. Cincinnati Video Project, 1000 St. Gregory, 
Suite 2, Cincinnati, OH 45202; (513) 721-5045. 

APRIL 1985 



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THE INDEPENDENT 31 



A Post- Production Center for 
independent and corporate filmmakers 

VALKHN FILM & VIDEO 

Award-winning editing staff 
Supervising editor Victor Kanefsky 

Facilities for 16 mm & 35 mm film, 

and 3/4" off-line video editing. 

— Rentals also available — 

1600 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10019 

(212)586-1603 



ON-LINE 



LOW COST VIDEO SERVICES FOR THE MEDIA ARTS 

• Computerized % inch, 1 inch, Betacam and interformat editing • Digital video 
effects and Paint Box • Transfers • Duplication • Complete audio services. 

Independent producers and non-profit media arts organizations can now utilize facilities 

at Reeves Teletape, LRP Video, The Sound Shop, and Broadway Video in NYC, and 

Upstate Production Services in Rochester, NY through the ON-LINE program. 

Consultants are available, free of charge to ON-LINE clients, through the Media Alliance 

Post-Production Consultation Service Fund. 

For further information and applications contact: 
The Media Alliance c/oWNET • 356 W. 58th St., NY, NY 10019 • (212)560-2919. 



American Independent 
Fil m & Video Series 

~Now on Videocassette~\ 

New Video is pleased to introduce a unique and exciting series of works produced by an extraordinary 
group of independent film and video artists. The tapes are available for rental and sale in both Beta and 
VHS. Included in the series are the following artists. 



MAX ALMY 


CECELIA C0N0IT 


DOUG HALL 


AMOSPOE 


ROBERT ASHLEY 


MERGE CUNNINGHAM 


PAT HEARN 


YVONNE RAINER 


CHARLES ATLAS 


EMJLE de ANTONrO 


KEN JACOBS 


MARK RAPPAPORT 


GEORGE BAYER 


SARA DRIVER 


JIM JARMUSCH 


JOHN SANBORN 


ERJCKA BECKMAN 


KIT FITZGERALD 


JOAN JONAS 


MICHAEL SMITH 


DARA B6RNBAUM 


RICHARD FOREMAN 


MITCHELL KRIEGMAN 


KEITH SONHIER 


LES BLANK 


MATTHEW GEUER 


JONAS MEKAS 


BLLWEGMAN 


ED BOWES 


BETTE GORDON 


ERIC MITCHELL 


ROBERT WILSON 




— 


MICHAEL OBtOWfTZ 


■- ^~- 



MAIL ORDER The tapes available Dy 
mail order are for sale only S45 to 
S75 (Rentals available only at New 
Video stores) A complete catalogue 
of the Independent Film & Video 
Senes is featured m the new issue o 1 
New Video Magazine available free 
at New Video stores or send 52 to 
90 University Place NYC 10003 
Postpaid 



NEW VIDEO 



90 University PL, NYC 

(bet. 11th & 12th Sts.) 

(212)243-0400 

MS 10-10 Sun 2-9 



44 Greenwich Ave., NYC 
{bet. 6th & 7th Aves.) 

(21 2) 675-6600 
M-S 11-11 Sun 2-9 



• INTERNATIONAL VISUAL COMMUNICA- 
TIONS CONFERENCE sponsored by the Annenberg 
School of Communications of the Univ. of Perm, 
seeks films & tapes to screen & discuss at May 30 
meeting of scholars, practitioners & students. Selection 
based on applications; do not send work. Jay Ruby, 
Program Director, Annenberg School of Communica- 
tions, 3620 Walnut St., #C5, Philadelphia, PA 
19104-3858; (215) 898-7037. 

• ALIVE FROM OFF CENTER: Pilot program 
showcase for new dance, theater, music & video for 
public broadcast. Independents encouraged to submit 
V* " or VHS tapes immediately for possible inclusion. 
Send samples of work or inquiries to Melinda Ward, 
Director of Media, Walker Art Center, Vineland PL, 
Minneapolis, MN 55403; (612) 375-7600. 

• UC VIDEO is soliciting video & film work for 
cablecast on Minneapolis Telecommunications Net- 
work's Channel 12A. Modest fees. Any length, any 
format (V* " Vi ", Beta, VHS or 16mm) acceptable. 
Neil Seiling, UC Video Exhibition Coordinator, 425 
Ontario St., S.E., Minneapolis, MN 55414. 

• FRONTAL EXPOSURE: Monthly showcase of in- 
dependent film & video accepting submissions of V* " 
tapes & 16mm films. $50 for broadcast works. Frontal 
Exposure, KQED, 500 8th St., San Francisco, CA 
94103; (415) 864-2000, ext. 323. 



Freelancers 



32 THE INDEPENDENT 



• APPRENTICE/ ASST. EDITOR: Worked w/ Jim 
Klein on award- winning doc for Rhode Island cable, & 
16mm narrative short. Will work long hours for low 
pay. Brown grad. Deirdre Fishel, (212) 662-6936, NY. 

• EXPERIENCED SCRIPTWRITER of dramatic & 
comedic stories looking for producer or production 
company for script development. R. Dubey, (516) 
621-6427, NY. 

• EDITOR: Experienced in 35mm, 16mm, 3 /i " CMX 
editing. Interested in working on independent project. 
Available evenings and weekends. J.T. Currie, (718) 
624-8214, NY. 

• AWARD-WINNING FILM/VIDEO CAMERA- 
MAN^/ 16mm Aaton available. John Bishop, 917 E. 
Broadway, Haverhill, MA 01830; (617) 372-0458. 

• DIRECTOR'S/ PRODUCER'S ASSISTANT: In- 
ternational experience in location scouting, continuity, 
screening, research, translation. Lend strong support 
in directing, producing, editing, lighting. Fluent 
Spanish, Portuguese & French; knowledge of Italian. 
Mark Christopher, (212) 866-0734 or (212) 819-3372, 
NY. 

• PRODUCTION ASST: Professional w/ varied ex- 
perience seeks freelance film & video work. R. Blanco, 
(212) 688-9191, NY or (201) 756-0455, NJ. 

• PRODUCER/DIRECTOR/CAMERAMAN w/ 

17 yrs. experience in film, video, TV. Time for 
assignments while shooting in Europe (mainly Ger- 
many) during spring & summer. Documentary, in- 
dustrial, medical films. Many, PO Box 74, NYC 
10025-0074; (212) 662-5364. 

• CINEMATOGRAPHER AVAILABLE w/Arri 

16SR, fast lenses & lights. Fluent French & Spanish. 
Negotiable rates. Pedro Bonilla, (213) 454-8909. CA. 

• PRODUCERS ASST/ASSOC PRODUCER: Ex- 
perience in features, docs, sports, industrials. Creden- 
tials available upon request. Peter Hawkins, (212) 
316-3880, NY. 

• SAN FRANCISCO GAFFER & GRIP: Also 2nd 
unit camera operator. Features, docs, industrials, 

APRIL 1985 



commercials. NABET 15. In partnership w/ earner- 
woman Caris Palm at Sobrante Studios. Reel 
available. Steve Shriver, (415) 222-7377, (415) 
223-8256, CA. 

• ACTRESS FOR VOICEOVER WORK, TRANS- 
LATOR: Spanish & French. Sample tape of work 
done for Ministry of Education, Nicaragua. R. Pikser, 
(212) 222-0865, NY. 

• CINEMATOGRAPHER available w/ CP-16 and 
Arri 16BL packages, Nagra with mikes, lighting kit, 
6-plate editing console, mini- van for camera crew. 
Special rates for docs. Bilingual English, Italian, some 
Spanish. Renato Tonelli, (718) 236-0153. 

• VIDEOGRAPHER w/ new Sony DXC-M3 & 
broadcast gear ready to shoot news, docs, dance, etc. 
Full ENG package & crew as needed. Rates negotiable. 
L. Goodsmith, (212) 989-8156, NY. 

• FILM COMPOSER AVAILABLE: Experienced. 
All musical styles. Audio & video cassettes available on 
request. Tony Slavata, (718) 788-2602, NY. 

• SOUNDMAN experienced in film & video for 
features, docs, commercials. Best equipment. Doug, 
(212) 489-0232. 



Opportunities • Gigs 

• NY STUDIO WANTED to tape The Scott and 
Gary Show, featuring great bands & great comedy. 
Cult cable following growing in NY, San Fran, 
Boston, DC, Maryland, Ohio. Prefer evening & 
weekend sessions; willing to give you "Recorded 
at..." credit. Deborah Erickson, (212) 473-3400, 
days, or Scott Lewis, (718) 339-8145, evenings, NY. 

• INTERNATIONAL/ US- JAPAN EXCHANGES 
for Media Arts, NEA. Deadline: June 1. NEA, 1100 
Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20506. 

• EDWARD F. ALBEE FOUNDATION month- 
long residencies for visual artists. Lodging provided 
with means a communal responsibility. Applications 
considered January through April on each year. The 
Edward F. Albee Foundation, 14 Harrison St., NY 
10013; (212) 226-2020. 

• MILLA Y COLONY FOR ARTS has 5 residency 
openings for visual artists. 600-acre estate in Berkshire 
mountains; no residence fee; all food & studio space 
provided. Next deadline May 1. Contact: Ms. A. 
Lesser, Exec. Dir., Steepletop, Austerlitz, NY 12017; 
(518)392-3103. 

• AFI TV WORKSHOP provides support for 
writer/producer with fresh approach to television 
comedy through the McMurray Foundation of Dallas. 
3M Corporation sponsors production funds & training 
& new talent in music- video field. Selected candidates 
will work with veteran television professionals to 
develop TV projects at the Sony Video Center on AFI 
campus. McMurray Foundation deadline: April 10. 
Contact: John Charnay, Comedy/TV Workshop, 
Television & Video Services, AFI, PO Box 27999, Los 
Angeles, CA 90027; (213) 856-7745. 

• PRODUCER/FUNDRAISER/CO-DIRECTOR 
wanted for 1-hour documentary. Some experience 
necessary but ability & enthusiasm most important. 
Stone Soup Prods., (212) 757-0499, NY. 

• EDITOR NEEDED for "Electric Boogie" dance se- 
quence in 16mm documentary. Prefer experience in 
rock videos or other non-linear montage cutting. Gary 
Krause, (201) 795-2615, NJ. 

• EXPERIENCED COLLABORATOR wanted to 
develop dramatic or comedic scripts. Screenplays also 

APRIL 1985 



wanted for low budget production. R. Dubey, (516) 
621-6427, NY. 

• WRITER needed to rewrite action detective film 
script. Producer interested in finding funds; Bill 
Greaves wants to direct. Work on spec. Contact: 
Melvin Stephens, (301) 779-1076, MD. 

• WANTED: Screenplays, books, stories, plays for 
motion pictures, TV. Professional evaluations by ex- 
studio story consultants (Orion & Filmways). Qualify- 
ing manuscripts offered sales, development deals, 
referrals to major literary agents. Flaming Rose 
Prods., 770 Princeton Ave., Metedeconk, NJ 08724; 
(201) 892-5552. 

• NEW COMMUNITY CINEMA seeks independent 
filmmakers for in-person appearances during year- 
round nightly repertory program. Charlotte Sky or Vic 
Solznick, New Community Cinema, PO Box 490, 
Huntington, NY 11743; (516) 423-7610 or (516) 
423-7619. 

• WANTED: Scriptwriter, director/camerman, pro- 
duction crew for commercial feature to be shot in Aug. 
in New Jersey. Exciting story. Work on spec. Bob, 
(212) 219-2940, NY. 



Resources • Funds 

• KEYLIGHT PRODUCTIONS provides complete 
production services from project development & 
shooting through editing. Full support staff w/ field 
producers, writers, researchers, PA's. Broadcast loca- 
tion crew available as needed. Beth, (212) 581-9748, 
NY. 

• MINORITY JOURNALISM FELLOWSHIPS: 2 
fellowships available for minority reporters & pro- 
ducers at Kiplinger Graduate Program in Public Af- 
fairs, Ohio State University, for classes beginning Sept. 
25, 1985. Candidates will receive MA w/specialization 
in journalism after 1 year. Tuition & fees waived. Eligi- 
ble candidates are minority public affairs producers & 
reporters currently or previously associated with public 
radio or TV stations or those w/ a commitment to 
work in public broadcasting. John Wicklein, Kiplinger 
Professor, Ohio State University, School of Jour- 
nalism, 242 W. 18th Ave., Columbus, OH 43210. 

• OPEN CHANNELS VIDEO FUNDING: Pilot 
program supporting outstanding video productions by 
Cal. artists & independent producers sponsored by the 
Long Beach Museum of Art. 5 artists will receive 
$1,000 & use of V* " production/ postproduction 
equipment for project completion. Projects should be 
10-20 mins. in experimental, documentary or narrative 
style. Submit 1-page typewritten treatment, resume & 
sample by April 1 to Open Channels, Long Beach 
Museum of Art, 2300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, 
CA 90803; or call Connie Fitzsimmons, (213) 
439-2119. 

• 16MM NEGA TIVE MA TCHING: A&B rolls cut 
at reasonable rates. Bruce Kubert, (212) 228-7352. 

• FREE: ORIGINAL MUSIC for non-proift produc- 
tions composed & recorded. Jacob Stern, M-F, 1 1am- 
5pm only, (212) 249-3903, NY. 

• PRODUCTION FORMS for short films & low- 
budget features. Improve planning, organizing, 
recordkeeping with this pack of 40 8 Vi " x 1 1 " masters. 
$12.50. Send long SASE for more info & sample. 
DKE, 1021 W. Mulberry, Dept. 209, San Antonio, TX 
78201. 

• FREE LEGAL ADVICE: Top firm Shearman & 
Sterling interested in providing certain legal services to 
community groups working with Community 
Resource Exchange. No litigation, but will work on 




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SOURCES listing compiled by Catalyst Audiovisual 
Center. Includes childcare, parenting, adjustment to 
divorce, single parenting, working mothers. Kathleen 
Weir, Media Specialist, Catalyst Library and 
Audiovisual Center, 14 E. 60th St., NYC 10022; (212) 
759-9700. 

• FREE TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE FOR 
DISTRIBUTION offered by the Film Fund to 12 com- 
pleted or nearly-completed social issue films. Consult- 
ing on choosing distributors, negotiating contracts, 
developing promotional campaigns. Seeking films in 
range of lengths, styles, topics. Minority, women, gay 
& lesbian filmmakers encouraged to apply. Program 
begins April 1 . Send project desciption to: Sam Sills, 
c/o The Film Fund, 80 E. 1 1th St., NYC 10003; (212) 
475-3720. 

• NATIVE AMERICAN MEDIA ARTIST RE- 
SOURCE CENTER formed in Strawberry Plains, TN 
(near Knoxville) to work with & train Native 
Americans in all areas of art & communications 
technology. The Native American Indian Media Cor- 
poration will provide access to professional-quality 
film production/production equipment at low rates, 
equipment access grants to socially-conscious media & 
information & referral services at its Independent 
Media Artist Resource Center. Contact: NAIM, IM- 
ARC, PO Box 59, Strawberry Plains, TN 37871; (615) 
933-0606. 

• CPB PROGRAM FUND: Proposals for develop- 
ment & production of public TV programs. Deadline: 
April 19. CPB, Program Fund, 1111 16th St., NW, 
Washington, DC 20036. 

• RELAX WITH TAX: Bay Area Lawyers for the 
Arts publishes The Art of Deduction: Income Taxa- 
tion for Performing, Visual Artists, $6. Bay Area 
Lawyers for the Arts, Fort Mason Center, Bldg. C. 
San Francisco, CA 94123; (415) 775-7200. 

• LONG BEACH VIDEO: Long Beach Museum of 
Art has published 10-year retrospective catalogue, 
Video: A Retrospective, Long Beach Museum of Art, 
1974-1984, w/ essays by former curators David Ross 
& Kathy Huffman & artist Bill Viola, bibliography, 
tape listings, $15. Video Program, Long Beach 
Museum of Art, 2300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, 
CA 90803, (213)439-2119. 

• KIND & REASONABLE MO VING COMPANY: 

Production assistant w7 van, $175/day. Weekly & 
hourly rates. Household, airport, commercial. (212) 
929-3570, NY. 

• ITALIAN LESSONS: High school teacher/film- 
maker gives lessons, northern dialect. Start now — be 
there by June. Low rates to filmmakers. (212) 
677-3617, NY. 

• PORTABLE CHANNEL MOVES UP: New 

renovated location has exhibition, studio, class, con- 
ference space, video/film screening, animation suite, 
video/ audio editing w7 narrration booth, 16mm flat- 
bed, Apple PC & printers. Portable Channel, 740 
University Ave., Rochester, NY; (716) 442-3886. 



Trims • Glitches 



• CONGRATULATIONS to Ross McElwee 
(Backyards) and Steve Segal (Futuropolis) whose films 
will be part of exchange between Great Britain & the 
American South, sponsored by IMAGE Film/Video 
Center of Atlanta & Tyneside Cinema & Festival. 



• CONGRATULATIONS to Tony Silver, whose 
Style Wars, produced with Henry Chalfant, won the 
"Prized Pieces" Award for Best Television Documen- 
tary', 1984. "Prized Pieces" is awarded by the National 
Black Programming Consortium. 

• CONGRATULATIONS to Phyllis Ward who 
received an Alfred 1. duPont-Columbia University 
Award in Broadcast Journalism for her documentary 
Baby Boom: The Pig in the Python, produced at W JZ- 
TV in Baltimore, Maryland. 

CONGRA TULATIONS to Kavery Dutta, whose film 
First Look was awarded the Revolucion y Cultura 
Prize at the 1984 International Latin American Film 
Festival in Havana, Cuba. 

• CONGRATULATIONS to AIVF members award- 
ed CPB Open Solicitation production funds: Jennifer 
Fox for Beirut: The Last Home Movie, Michelle 
Parkerson for Storme: A Life in the Jewel Box, Ned 
Schnurmann & Helena Solberg Ladd for Latin 
America: The Turning Point & George T. Nierenberg 
for About Tap. 

• CONGRATULATIONS to U.S. independent 
women filmmakers whose work has been selected for 
the Women's International Film Festival in Creteil: 
Nina Menkes, The Great Sadness of Zohara; Lucy 
Winer, Rated X; Doris Chase, Table for One, Jill God- 
millow, Far from Poland; Nina Rosenblum, America 
and Lewis Hine; Lee Grant, What Sex Am I? Greta 
Schiller, Before Stonewall; Molly Burgess, Miraj; 
Lynne Tillman & Sheila McLaughlin, Committed; 
Melvie Arslanan, Fading; Julie Dash, Illusions; Myra 
Joy Shannon, Echo; Monoma Wali, Grey Area; Fron- 
za Woods, Fannie's Film; Barbara Hammer, Bent 
Time; & Yvonne Rainer, untitled. 



MEMBER DISCOUNTS 

AIVF is pleased to announce a discount pro- 
gram of film and video production services 
for its memPers. The companies listed Pelow 
will offer discounts to AIVF memPers upon 
presentation of a memPership card. We 
hope that this program will foster closer 
cooperation between independent pro- 
ducers and companies that provide pro- 
duction services. 

Tenth Street Production Group 
Alan Schaaf, President 

147 Tenth St. 

San Francisco. CA (415) 621-3395 

10% discount on all lighting and grip rentals 
and on all location scouting/production 
manager services. Negotiable rates on all 
other production personnel/services and 
equipment. Free telephone consultations re: 
local permits/fees and other shooting re- 
quirements/possibilities. 

National Video Industries, Inc. 
Louise Diamond, Operations Manager 

15 West 17th Street 
New York. (212) 691-1300 

Negotiable discounts on studio production 
facilities, remote production packages, 
postproduction and screening facilities, 
transfer and duplication. Package deals 
available. 



34 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL1985 



TVC Labs 

Roseann Schaeffer, VP Sales 

311 West 43 St. 

New York (212) 397-8600 

Negotiable discounts on services. 

Camera Mart 

Leo Rosenberg, Rental Manager 

456 West 55 St. 

New York (212) 757-6977 

20% discount on all rentals of film and video 
equipment with some specific exceptions. 
Larger discounts may be available for rent- 
als of long duration or for favorable pay- 
ment terms. 

Raflk 

814 Broadway 

New York (212) 475-9HO 

25% discount on straight rental of screening 
room, rentals on cameras and sales of used 
videocassettes. 15% discount on use of 
editing facilities. All other supplies at dis- 
count rates; special deals available. 

Rough Cut Video Services 
Mark Fischer 

129 West 22 St. 

New York (212) 242-1914 

10% across-the-board discount on all serv- 
ices, including 3 A" productions, 3 U" editing 
and VHS to 3 k " transfers. 

Square 12 Video Post-Production 
Bob Wiegand 

16 Greene St. 

New York (212) 925-6059 

lO % discount. 

Indieflex 

Randal Alan Goya 

949 Amsterdam Ave., 4N 
New York (212) 678-7989 

10% discount on high-quality FX and foleys. 

AIVF would like thank these companies for 
participating. Other firms wishing to be 
included should contact: Andrea Estepa, 
Membership Coordinator, (212) 473-3400. 



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VIDEO VIEWPOINTS 




VIDEOMAKERS TALK ABOUT AND 




SHOW THEIR WORK 


4-> 


7TH SEASON/1984-1985 


JANUARY 7 6:30 


< 


MARINA ABRAMOVIC 


Nightsea Crossing 


JANUARY 21 6:30 


s 


MARKSCHUBIN 


^^ 


The Difference Between Movies and Television 


4) 


FEBRUARY 4 6:30 


ARDELE LISTER 


Tailored Truths 


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MARCH 4 6:30 


2 


KEN FEINGOLD 


lb Intensify Use of Time 


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MARCH 18 6:30 


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Video Colonzation Based on Musical Modules 


E 


APRIL 15 6:30 


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3 


Image As Spectacle Video Works 


APRIL 29 6:30 


LISA STEELE 


Talking lbngues 


3 


MAY 6 6:30 


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Fcochannel for the Hudson Estuary 




JUNE 3 6:30 


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In the Belly of the Beast Encountering the 


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JUNE 24 6:30 




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Story. Plot, and Central Crises in 




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A presentation of the Department of Film 



APRIL 1985 



THE INDEPENDENT 35 



FIVF THANKS. . . 

Charlotte McKim, New York, NY, for her 
donation. 

Filipino Filmmakers Released 

On February 13, President Ferdinand E. Marcos 
released two Filipino filmmakers, Lino Brocka 
and Behn Cervantes, and 39 other people arrested 
for taking part in a demonstration supporting 
striking transport drivers in January (see 
"Memoranda," The Independent, March 1985). 
The two filmmakers could have received the death 
sentence if convicted. All 41 people had been jail- 
ed, on Marcos's orders, for 16 days. 

FIRST CLASS SERVICE 

Add $10 to regular annual membership fee and 
you'll get The Independent via first class 
mail — in time for every deadline. Send your 
check or money order to: FIVF, 625 Broadway, 
New York, NY 10012. 



APRIL SEMINARS 

FTVF and New York-South Africa 

Solidarity Coalition present 

ARTISTS AND THE POLITICS 

OF APARTHEID: 

FORUM ON THE aJLTURAL 

BOYCOTT OF SOUTH AFRICA 

Friday, April 12, 7:30 p.m. 

School of Visual Arts 

209 E. 23rd Street 

(between Second and Third Avenues) 

Third floor amphitheater 

Admission: $3 AIVF members with card 

$5 non-members 
With Gerald Home, Director, National Con- 
ference of Black Lawyers; NY-South Africa 
Solidarity Coalition; Nomazizi Sokudela, 
African National Congress Women's Com- 
mittee; Representative,' United Nations 
Special Committee Against Apartheid; Pat 
Aufderheide, culture editor, In These 
Times: Michael Beaubien, freelance jour- 
nalist, moderator. 



WOMEN LOOK AT WOMEN: 
FEMINIST FILM STRATEGIES 

Tuesday, April 23, 8:00 p.m. 
Millennium Film Workshop 
66 E. 4th Street 

Admission: $4 AIVF members with card 
$6 non-members 

With Jane Wienstock (Sigmund Freud's 
Dora): Lucy Winer, Claudette Charbon- 
neau, Paula Koenigsberg (Rated X); Bette 
Gordon (Variety). Curated and moderated 
by Joan Jubela. 



For more information, call Debra Goldman 
at FIVF, (212)473-3400. 




Plans for the 10th Anniversary Celebration are in full 

swing. Mark June 4, 1985 on your calendar. That's 

the day when AjTVF members, supporters and friends 

will gather to mark this milestone in our history. The 

presentation of the INDIE Awards and the premiere 

screening of a compilation tape of members' work will 

take place at the Museum of Modern Art in New York 

City, followed by a dance at another location. 

Watch your mailbox for more details. 



36 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1985 



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A CALL FOR ENTRIES. 



Entry Deadline: June 30, 1985 

Sponsored by SONY Corporation of America 



VISIONS 

OF U.S. VIDEO CONTEST 

Entries invited in Beta, VMS, & 8mm Video 



Prizes, including Sony's 
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awarded in four categories: 

• Fiction 

• Non-Fiction 

• Experimental 

• Music Video 



Judges: 

• Francis Coppola 

• David Byrne 

• Shelley Duvall 

• Tom Shales 

• J. Hoberman 

• Debbie Allen 



write: Video Contest Box 200 Hollywood, CA 90078 

Administered by The American Film Institute 



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FILM & VIDEO MONTHLY 



INXPEWENr 



MAY 1985 

VOLUME 8, NUMBER 4 



Publisher: 

Editor: 

Associate Editors: 

Contributing Editors: 



Art Director: 
Advertising: 

Distributor: 



Typesetting: 
Printer: 



Lawrence Sapadin 
Martha Gever 
Susan Linfield 
Renee Tajima 
Robert Aaronson 
Bob Brodsky 
Deborah Erickson 
Debra Goldman 
Mary Guzzy 
Fenton Johnson 
David Leitner 
Toni Treadway 
Bethany Eden 
Jacobson 
Barbara Spence; 
Marionette, Inc. 
(718-773-9869) 
Bernhard DeBoer 
113 E. Center St.. 
Nutley NJ 07110 
Skeezo Typography 
PetCap Press 



The Independent is published ten times year- 
ly by the Foundation for Independent Video 
and Film, Inc. (FIVF), 625 Broadway, 9th Floor, 
New York, NY 10012, (212-473-3400), a not- 
for-profit, tax-exempt educational foundation 
dedicated to the promotion of video and 
film, and by the Association of Independent 
Video and Filmmakers, Inc. (AIVF). the na- 
tional trade association of independent pro- 
ducers and individuals involved in indepen- 
dent video and film. Subscription is included 
with membership in AIVF. Together, FIVF and 
AIVF provide a broad range of educational 
and professional services for independents 
and the general public. Publication of The 
Independent is made possible in part with 
public funds from the New York State Council 
on the Arts and the National Endowment for 
the Arts, a federal agency. 

The Independent welcomes unsolicited 
manuscripts. Manuscripts cannot be returned 
unless a stamped, self-addressed envelope is 
included. No responsibility is assumed for loss 
or damage. 

Letters to The Independent should be ad- 
dressed to the editor. Letters may be edited 
for length. 

All contents are copyright of the Founda- 
tion for Independent Video and Film, Inc., ex- 
cept where otherwise noted. Reprints require 
written permission and acknowledgement of 
the article's previous appearance in The 
Independent. ISSN 0731-5198. 

©Foundation for Independent Video and Film, Inc. 
1985 

AIVF/FIVF STAFF MEMBERS: Lawrence Sapadin, 
executive director; Robert Aaronson, festival direc- 
tor; Deborah Erickson, administrative assistant; An- 
drea Estepa. membership services; Debra Goldman, 
screenings & seminars; Mary Guzzy, administrative 
director; Sol Horwitz, Short Film Showcase project ad- 
ministrator; Susan Linfield, Short Film Showcase ad- 
ministrative assistant. 

AIVF/FIVF BOARDS OF DIRECTORS: Robert Richter, 
president; William Greaves, vice president; Lillian 
Jimenez, chair; Barton Weiss, secretary; Pearl Bowser; 
St. Clair Bourne; Christine Choy; Loni Ding Peter 
Kinoy; Howard Petrick Lawrence Sapadin (ex of- 
ficio); Richard Schmiechen. 



CONTENTS 

FEATURES 



14 Populations, Policy, Politics: Telecommunications in 
Vermont 

by Lauren-Glenn Davitian 

]3 Blacks and the Mass Media: The Reasons for Action, 
The Actions to Take 

by Nolan A, Bowie 

21 3-D Sound: Recording, Mixing, Editing 

by Douglas Smith 

3 MEDIA CLIPS 

The Price Is Right: DGA's New Low-Budget Contract 

by Susan Linfield 

Private Partners and Station Swapping 

by Debra Goldman 

The Learning Channel's Agenda 

KQED's License Challenged 

by Renee Taj i ma 

Stations' Rights vs. CPB 
Independent Input 

Shuffle at the Walker 

9 FIELD REPORT 

Dinner at Eight 

by Ton i Treadway 

12 IN FOCUS 

It Looks Great, But Does It Work? Testing Super-8 
Cameras 

by Bob Brodsky 

24 FESTIVALS 

Hawaiian International Film Festival 

by Luis H. Francia 

Telluride Film Festival 

by Robert Aaronson 

In Brief 

30 IN AND OUT OF PRODUCTION 

by Mary Guzzy and Deborah Erickson 

32 NOTICES 

36 MEMORANDA 




COVER: Does sophisticated technology ensure increased access to that increasingly im- 
portant commodity, information? Lauren-Glenn Davitian's article, "Populations, Policy, Politics: 
Telecommunications in Vermont," examines the case of a small, rural state in the Information 
Age. Photo: Lauren-Glenn Davitian 



MAY 1985 



THE INDEPENDENT 1 




'THE A.I.V.F. 10th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION 



AT THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART 



7:30, TUESDAY, JUNE 4th, 1985 



PRESENTATION OF 1985 INDIE AWARDS 

FOLLOWED BY A DANCE/BUFFET 

TICKETS: $35, AIVF MEMBERS; $50, NON-MEMBERS 

FOR INFORMATION, CALL ANDREA ESTEPA, (212) 473-3400. 

ALL TICKET REQUESTS MUST BE RECEIVED BY MAY 2 1 . 




MEDIA CLIPS 



THE PRICE IS RIGHT: 

DGA'S NEW LOW-BUDGET CONTRACT 



In what one representative called a "landmark" 
decision, the Directors Guild of America has ap- 
proved a low-budget contract for theatrical fea- 
ture films. The DGA now joins the Screen Ac- 
tors Guild and the Writers Guild of America in 
bending its standard provisions to accommodate 
independents and increase union personnel on 
low-budget films. The contract is, simultaneous- 
ly, a response to increased non-union produc- 
tion, an attempt to bring new directors into the 
guild, and a response by the DGA to its current 
members' desire to work on low-budget films. 

"For years, DGA members have pointed out 
that there are lots of production companies be- 
sides Paramount and Columbia," said Lope 
Yap, Jr., former chair of the San Francisco coor- 
dinating committee of the DGA. "The guild used 
to be very rigid, very arrogant, in upholding the 
status quo. Now they're listening more to the 
needs of smaller producers. They're acknowl- 
edging that people without $10 million make 
movies." Bob Bordiga, chair of the DGA low- 
budget committee, characterized the contract as 
"an opportunity for independents to be able to 
work with professional directors. It's long over- 
due." 

The contract grows out of last year's negotia- 
tions between the DGA and Cannon Films, the 
"major-mini" Hollywood production company 
that churns out more films than some of the es- 
tablished studios — ranging from Andrei Kon- 
chalovsky's Maria's Lovers to such fare as Oy 
Vey and Godzilla vs. Cleveland. (A Cannon 
spokesperson estimated gross revenues for 1984 
at "over $100-million.") Cannon had been on 
the guild's unfair labor list for refusing to sign a 
DGA contract. "We didn't want to sign the 
DGA agreement because we have low-budget 
and high-budget pictures," said Yoram Globus, 
Cannon's president. "You can't treat a low- 
budget like a high-budget picture. And there was 
a lot of talent that we were using that couldn't get 
a chance because of the DGA rules." In Febru- 
ary 1984, after months of bargaining, the DGA 
and Cannon signed a low-budget agreement, 
which became the model for the industry-wide 
contract the DGA national board has now ap- 
proved. (At the same time, Cannon and its sub- 
sidiary companies also became a signatory to the 
regular DGA contract, which applies to its 
higher budget films.) 

The new contract covers all theatrical features 
budgeted at $2'/2-million or less. (Television 
films are excluded, and the DGA is currently 
working on a low-budget contract for experi- 
mental films.) For films under $1 i/i-million, the 
MAY 1985 



producer will pay all DGA personnel (director, 
first and second assistant directors, unit pro- 
duction manager) 50 percent of scale upfront, 
with 60 percent deferred until the producer's 
gross receipts equal twice its production costs. 
Films with budgets between $l'/2 -million and 
$2 Vi -million will pay 60 percent of scale upfront, 
with 60 percent deferred until the film recoups 
twice its negative costs. (Under the regular con- 
tract, a four-person DGA team costs a 
$1,500,000 production approximately $10,000 
per week; this could be halved under the new 
contract.) 

At the time of the Cannon-DGA agreement, 
DGA national executive director Michael Frank- 
lin told Variety, "There is a caveat. Deferment is 
tied to recoupment and I would have great con- 
cern about making the same deal with companies 
that might not be around when the time comes 
for recoupment." But Bordiga, speaking of the 
industry-wide contract, said, "Most films won't 
recoup costs. So DGA people will work for less 
money. But it makes them affordable to the pro- 
ducers." 

The new contract also includes a provision for 
reduced completion of assignment (severance) 
pay. It stipulates that severance pay must only be 
paid after four weeks of work, instead of the 
usual one, have been completed. And the con- 
tract contains what Bordiga called a "terrific au- 
dit provision," whereby the production com- 
pany pays complete audit costs if it is found to 
owe money. 

The union hopes the new contract will reduce 
the amount of under-the-table work its members 
do. "Some people call themselves associate pro- 
ducers [a non-DGA position], instead of pro- 
duction managers, and work on non-union low- 
budget features," Bordiga said. "That's been a 
practice for a long time." 

The spillover effect of the DGA contract on 
other unions, and on the budgets of studio films, 
remains to be seen. In February, International 
Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees 
spokesperson Mac St. Johns told Variety that 
LATSE "would not rule out a reasonable agree- 
ment [with Cannon] . . . which would not subvert 
our International contract." And 20th Century- 
Fox executive Joe Wizan told Variety that the 
studio might "begin thinking about more low- 
budget pictures" as a result of the DGA-Cannon 
pact. 

"Maybe Blood Simple, shooting for a million 
dollars in Texas, would have used DGA people if 
they'd had this contract a year or two ago," said 
Lope Yap, Jr. Meanwhile, such soon-to-be-re- 



leased films as Alex Grasshoffs A Billion for 
Boris, with Lee Grant, and Bamett Kellman's 
Key Exchange, with Brooke Adams, have al- 
ready utilized a revised form of the low-budget 
contract. — Susan Linfield 

PRIVATE PARTNERS AND 
STATION SWAPPING 

Despite powerful friends in both houses of Con- 
gress, funds for the Corporation for Public 
Broadcasting are authorized only through 
1987 — at levels much below those hoped for and 
expected — and prospects aren't great for 
1988-89. Beefed-up membership drives and 
more aggressive pursuit of corporate under- 
writers have not made up for the shortfall in 
federal dollars. With no dramatic increases in 
federal support in sight, the system is now con- 
sidering exploitation of two of its remaining 
resources: its satellite delivery capacity and the 
broadcasting facilities of its member stations. 

The first gambit involves the creation of a 
wholly owned for-profit subsidiary within the 
Public Broadcasting System, PBS Enterprises 
Inc. The impetus behind the incorporation of the 
new entity is a 10-year agreement signed in Feb- 
ruary with International MarketNet, a joint ven- 
ture of IBM and Merrill Lynch. IMNET has 
agreed to lease four of the 21 lines of the vertical 
blanking interval (VBI) from the PBS signal to 
deliver financial data to businesses and con- 
sumers. 

This business venture adds a new twist to the 
relationship between these corporate giants and 
the public system. As program underwriters, 
both have made their mark on the PBS schedule. 
IBM had helped bankroll a number of perform- 
ing arts broadcasts, as well as the foreign affairs 
series American Interests. Merrill Lynch has 
brought us such alternatives to commercial cul- 
ture as the Enterprise business series and this 
season's special, In Search of Excellence, a 
paean to the inventiveness of corporate Amer- 
ica, complete with helicopter shots of sky- 
scrapers against the heavens and an inspirational 
musical soundtrack. Now that the two are going 
into business with PBS, the public television 
system hopes to make a bundle. 

The financial data delivery service is not new, 
but use of the broadcast signal's VBI — the black 
band that appears between the rolling image of a 
badly tuned TV set — is a fairly recent phenom- 
enon. Customers of the established players in the 
field, Dow Jones and CompuServe, usually hook 
their computers up to the data source via 
THE INDEPENDENT 3 



telephone lines. While telephone delivery offers 
the advantage of user response, the telephone 
companies get a piece of the action, which makes 
the method fairly costly. 

The airwaves, on the other hand, are free. In 
the IMNET-PBS venture, users will have a de- 
coder, developed by IBM. Subscribers will mere- 
ly have to tune into their local participating PBS 
station, flip on the decoder, and the latest stock 
quotes will appear where Mr. Rogers's face had 
been a few seconds before. Merrill Lynch will 
provide the data as well as the initial 20,000 cus- 
tomers in the form of affiliated brokers. 

Although IMNET plans on also using tele- 
phone lines and other satellite delivery .services, 
the PBS deal, which potentially extends the serv- 
ice's reach to % percent of the country, was 
touted by the company as a great market entry. 
Equally enthusiastic, according to Neil Mahrer, 
chief executive officer of PBS's new for-profit 
offspring, are the member stations who stand to 
profit. "There's been a great deal of interest 
from the stations," said Mahrer, who added that 
PBS will contract individually with each station 
that decides to participate. Profits from the lease 
will then be divided between PBS and the sta- 
tions according to specific formulas. Exercising 
the prerogative of a private business, Mahrer 
declined to reveal how much IMNET was paying 
for the lease, but said the dollars generated 
would go toward the creation of improved pro- 
gramming. 

While PBS and IMNET were sealing their 
partnership, the Federal Communications Com- 
mission began public discussion of its own 
scheme to put private money into public TV's 
bank accounts. The vehicle under consideration 
is station facilities swaps between public VHF 
stations and commercial UHF stations in the 
same locality. For the VHF licensee, such swaps 
could means millions, and the FCC is consider- 
ing ways to make such transactions easier. Yet in 
contrast to the apparent eagerness of stations to 
get into the data business, the prospect of pain- 
less facilities is being greeted by many in 
PTV with greater scepticism. The enthusiasm for 
swaps thus far seems confined to the FCC, 
which, led by commissioner James Quello, has 
begun rulemaking on the issue. Only a few 
months ago, the FCC expanded the number of 
television stations a single owner could hold 
from 7 to 12. In order for this rule change to have 
its desired effect — giving the "little guys" better 
programming leverage against the net- 
works — there have to be more stations on the 
market, for there is no sense in raising the ceiling 
on ownership if there are no stations to acquire. 
The Commission's notion is that VHF-UHF 
swaps are a way in which public television sta- 
tions can benefit from the hopped-up commer- 
cial broadcast market. 

In Tampa, Florida, PTV station WEDU/ 
Channel 3 is already considering a swap with a 
local UHF. In addition to a new space on a dif- 
ferent dial, WEDU stands to gain $45-million to 
4 THE INDEPENDENT 



$50-million in the deal, which is the difference in 
market value between the two facilities. The sta- 
tions have not yet filed with the FCC, however, 
for according to current rules, such swaps are 
open to competitive applications. This practice is 
supported by case law, in particular, the 
Ashbacker decision of 1945, which stated that 
such transactions be open to third parties. 
Ashbacker now threatens to spoil the FCC's par- 
ty, for "outside" competition discourages swaps 
by complicating them, and activates the very 
bureaucratic machinery that the FCC vowed to 
contain. So the FCC has called for comments on 
a proposed change in rulemaking designed to 
streamline the process in a way that would allow 
public comment on swaps, but no outside ap- 
plications. According to preliminary discussion, 
the FCC would decide whether swaps were in the 
public interest on a case-by-case basis, with, in 
commissioner Mimi Dawson's words, heavy re- 
liance on the "local call as to whether or not [the 
station board] feels they could fulfill their 
responsibility." The Commission acknowledges 
that the final decision regarding swap procedure 
will probably be made in the courts. 

Quello claims to be neither for nor against the 
change. But in order to study its potential, he is 
considering a revival of the Temporary Commis- 
sion on Alternative Financing for Public Tele- 
communications (which, last time out, decided 
that apart from government support, there 
wasn't any). The reaction from the public tele- 
vision system was cool. CPB is preparing to op- 
pose the change when the FCC calls for com- 
ments. The National Association of Public Tele- 
vision Stations held meetings in March with re- 
gional networks and stations to decide its 
strategy. "From what we have heard so far," 
reported NAPTS general counsel Barron Futa, 
"it appears that swaps in local markets would 
have nationwide negative effects." 

Of the nation's 300-plus public television sta- 
tions, 121 are VHF, and 35 of those are in the top 
50 markets. But to swap stations in such influen- 
tial urban centers, asserted Futa, would con- 
tradict the intent of the 1967 Public Telecom- 
munications Act to create a system "reaching all, 
not some, of the American people." Given the 
"inferior reach and picture quality of UHF," 
Futa argued, swaps would seriously diminish 
PTV's presence in broadcasting, affecting the 
system's ability to attract federal funds and na- 
tional corporate underwriting. Particularly chill- 
ing was FCC chair Mark Fowler's comment that 
the reach of the UHF station in the trade need 
not be absolutely congruent with that of the 
VHF; he suggested 80 percent as a reasonable 
figure. Said Futa, "You don't have to be a 
genius to figure out that if you shrink your 
coverage in 35 of the top 50 markets by 20 per- 
cent, you've lost hundreds of thousands, even 
millions of your audience." 

Futa's concern that the flagship VHFs might 
jump at the chance to create multi-million dollar 
endowments for themselves to the detriment of 



the system as a whole seems well-founded. 
Despite the negative reaction of national PTV 
organizations, many individual stations are in- 
terested. Financial middlemen that specialize in 
the communications industry have already got- 
ten into the act, alerting selected stations to the 
potentials of swaps. KQED in San Francisco 
turned down a $50-million swap offer last year, 
but, said president Anthony S. Tiano, the board 
would reconsider if the price was right. John Jay 
Iselin, president of New York's WNET, has an- 
nounced that the station .is studying the swap 
issue; observers speculate that such a transaction 
could yield $200-million or more. 

Iselin did admit that the combination of 
UHF's weaker signal and the absence of cable in 
most of New York City could make a swap 
untenable. Futa, however, disputed using cable 
as a determining factor. "Cable is not free. 
We're not in the cable business, we're broad- 
casters." Besides, he added, public stations only 
appear on cable courtesy of the must-carry rule. 
PTV officials would do well to remember that 
the National Cable Television Association, no 
slouch as a lobbying force, considers the must- 
carry rule an albatross around the industry's 
neck, and would like to see it rescinded. Given 
the FCC's deregulatory fervor, the must-carry 
rule offers little security to UHF licensees, public 
or commercial. 

What distressed public TV officials most was 
the FCC's narrowly legalistic approach to the 
issue: can the commission get around 
Ashbacker"} The issue, countered Futa, is public 
television's "mission. Swaps go to the very 
nature of what we are." But both the PBS data 
delivery business and the VHF-UHF swaps 
debate indicate that "what public television is" is 
changing. For the wall which separates non- 
commercial TV, that erstwhile "public trust," 
from the private marketplace is increasingly in 
danger of toppling . — Debra Goldman 

THE LEARNING CHANNEL'S 
AGENDA 

In April, Agenda, the documentary section of 
the Learning Channel series The Independents, 
debuted on the network's cable system affiliates. 
Last year, the announcement of the series caused 
a stir, thanks to the large sums of money poured 
into the project [see "Media Clips," The In- 
dependent, January/ February, 1984]. The Na- 
tional Endowment for the Arts got the ball roll- 
ing with $100,000 in development money; TLC, 
owned by the not-for-profit Appalachian Com- 
munity Services Network, put up $250,000; and 
the John D. and Mary T. Mac Arthur Founda- 
tion gave a whopping $667,000, thought to be 
the single largest private grant ever awarded to a 
media project. 

That generous budget has been reflected in the 
acquisition, packaging, and promotion of both 
Agenda and Dis/ Patches, the film and video art 
showcase that kicked off the enterprise last fall. 

MAY 1985 




Robert Young went into high gear as the 
Channel's glossy "The Independents" series 

Glossy "call for submissions" posters were sent 
to almost every media center in the country, and 
snazzy press kits were distributed to the trade 
and local press. Producers were paid $210 per 
minute for their work, which was selected for 
both series by Gerald O'Grady, executive direc- 
tor of Media Study/Buffalo. Great attention 
was lavished on packaging the works to make 
them more comprehensible to the average cable 
television viewer. In the case of Dis/Patches, 
some felt too much attention: the interstitial 
segments presented by independent producer 
Robert Young verged on the overproduced and 
overwritten. No expense has been spared for 
Agenda, either. It features as its host that urbane 
icon of network journalism, Edwin Newman. 
The intent is to make The Independents what the 
TLC press releases like to call "the premiere na- 
tional showcase for independent film and video 
works." 

Robert Shuman, TLC executive vice-presi- 
dent and the company executive in charge of The 
Independents, admits that he was an unlikely 
candidate to become cable czar of the indepen- 
dent media community. "I don't have a 
background as an independent producer. I'm a 
businessman. If four years ago you'd talked to 
me about independent producers and their pro- 
blems, I would have said, 'Hey, George Lucas is 
an independent, and he doesn't have any trouble 
getting access.' " ACSN-TLC did not seek to 
become the national cable outlet for indepen- 
dents, either; it was NEA Media Program direc- 
tor Brian O'Doherty who approached the serv- 
ice. But having found himself in that role, 
Shuman has embraced it. "I want to show that 
independent media can work as a business. 
Everyone says the market is out there, but how 
do you get to it, how do you develop it? I would 
at least like to provide a model of a workable 
MAY 1985 



host of "Dis/Patches," part of The Learning 

business strategy." 

Shuman says he's well satisfied with the 
performance of Dis/Patches, which is about to 
begin a second life on public television. The 
series was not, however, an easy sell. In its first 
cable run it reached TLC's five million-plus 
cable homes and one million other households 
hooked up to unaffiliated systems. But, Shuman 
notes, "Film and video is an art form that many 
people are not well prepared for." In TLC's 
quest for sales to PTV, Shuman found that 
many station programmers felt "the programs 
were too narrowly focused." But with an extra 
push from its promotion and sales staff, TLC has 
won commitments from a half dozen stations, 
including Chicago's WTTW and Minneapolis- 
St. Paul's KTCA. WNET and WNYC in New 
York and KETC in Los Angeles were among the 
nine additional stations that have "expressed in- 
terest" in the programs, Shuman said. Should all 
these stations sign up for Dis/Patches, the series 
could reach a broadcast audience of 26 million. 
And Shuman figures that Agenda, which 
features documentaries on topical subjects like 
dioxin pollution, wife abuse, and the criminal 
justice system, should attract a wider audience. 

TLC has already begun working on next 
year's dual series, and, not unexpectedly, art 
films and tapes are not part of the plan. The first 
half, tentatively titled Lifegraphs, will be 
devoted to biographical and autobiographical 
works. By featuring "personal films," a 
hallmark of independent filmmaking, Shuman 
hopes to "give the audience an idea of who the 
independent is." Coast to Coast, the second pro- 
jected series, will return to the documentary 
form. But rather than focusing on "concerns of 
the eighties," which is the concept behind Agen- 
da, Coast to Coast will look "at the last 10 years. 
We'd like to pick works that have served as a 




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catalyst for reflection on important issues of the 
decade." 

Once again, the TLC project will begin with a 
call for submissions, which in the last round 
elicited over 1,400 films and tapes. Program- 
ming is a task that, Shuman says, "I need to sub- 
contract out." Last year, the TLC project raised 
a few eyebrows in the independent community 
when, at the urging of the NEA's O'Doherty, 
O'Grady was named the single executive pro- 
ducer responsible for selecting works. Shuman 
expects to handle selection the same way, but 
may bring in new people. He termed TLC's 
working relationship with O'Grady very suc- 
cessful, but added, "It helps in certain ways to 
spread responsibility around. That way you 
develop contacts with different parts of the com- 
munity, and also spread the money around. 
Gerry [O'Grady] represents a segment of the 
community, but there are other segments, too, 
and he has helped us become aware of that. I 
would like to have different curators for each 
series as opposed to a single curator. But I'm not 
locked into anything. I don't have my hands tied 
as to how we administer the effort." 

At press time, next year's funding levels were 
still unknown. The NEA's final decision will be 
announced this month. The Mac Arthur board's 
first 1985 meeting was in March, but their com- 
mitment to the continuation of The Indepen- 
dents had not been made public. Shuman was, 
however, optimistic about the attitude of the 
series' funders toward the project. "They feel 
that, in terms of what they were asking us to do 
within a three-way partnership, the effort was a 
good one." 

Independent producers, who survive on a 
mixture of insane hopefulness and worldly 
cynicism, cannot help but wonder why TLC is 
championing work which, outside the access 
scene, no one else in the cable business will 
touch. The answer is that the service has nothing 
to lose. ACSN may be the oldest continuous 
satellite delivery' service in the country, having 
begun transmitting programming in the early 
seventies as a quasi-governmental educational 
project. Yet it remains a small player in the 
business. In March, Shuman said, TLC's sub- 
scriber count had reached six million. While that 
figure represents a 50 percent increase in sub- 
scribers over the last two years, it's small 
potatoes in terms of both total cable and total 
television households. TLC's strategy is to create 
a demand for itself by providing programming 
that distinguishes it from any other service and 
by promoting itself to sympathetic and influen- 
tial institutions within targeted franchises. 

TLC is handicapped by its transmission 
hours: 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Within these scheduling 
limits, each segment of The Independents has 
premiered at the ungodly hour of 11 a.m. on 
Sundays. The thought of sitting down to watch 
Bill Viola's Ancient of Days or Jacki Ochs's 
Secret Agent while taking your first sips of 



morning coffee is a bit daunting. It certainly does 
not bode well for audience expansion. To 
remedy the problem, Shuman reports that TLC 
is "circulating a prospectus on Wall Street. 
We're looking for a partner for a for-profit sub- 
sidiary that would run 24 hours a day. I wouldn't 
be pursuing this thing with independents if I 
thought we'd always have to cut off at 4 p.m. I 
see independent work as very much a prime time 
product." 

Because The Independents is conceived as a 
business venture, there are undoubtedly built-in 
limitations to the kinds of work that TLC will 
want to feature. Yet for the same reason, some 
independents now find themselves with an unex- 
pected but commited partner in the cable busi- 
ness. It will be instructive to see if this "model for 
a business strategy" will indeed be as workable as 
Shuman believes. — DG 

KQED LICENSE 
CHALLENGED 

After years of persistent appeals, the California 
Public Broadcasting Forum has won the right to 
present a challenge to KQED Inc.'s license re- 
newal before the Federal Communications 
Commission, according to Current, the public 
telecommunications newspaper. The challenge 
results from a decade of contention between 
KQED and a group of citizen watchdogs who 
claim that the public broadcaster has deviated 
from its community service mandate. 

The main actors in the conflict are KQED 
Inc., which operates KQED-TV (Channel 9), 
KQEC-TV (Channel 32), and KQED-FM, all in 
San Francisco, in addition to CPBF, a coalition 
composed of the Committee to Save KQED, the 
NAACP Western Region, the Bay Area Bi- 
lingual Educational League, and members and 
contributors to the station. At the center of the 
maelstrom is KQEC-Channel 32, the broad- 
caster's "second channel," which airs over UHF. 
In 1971, KQEC was donated to KQED by 
Metromedia. But for the next three years, KQED 
kept the channel dark, claiming lack of 
operating money. In the meantime, some com- 
munity activists lobbied to turn Channel 32 into 
a community-run alternative to KQED, which 
the station management resisted. 

In 1974, sparked by a CPBF-member suit, the 
FCC ordered KQED to put KQEC back on the 
air, despite its claims of poverty. The commis- 
sion stipulated that if financial problems were 
the only reason for discontinuing broadcasts, 
KQED should relinquish its license. Channel 32 
went back on the air, basically as a repeater sta- 
tion for KQED programming, operating during 
prime time. 

But for the first five months of 1980, KQEC 
went dark again — which set off CPBF's license 
challenge. KQED told the FCC that KQEC went 
off the air to replace faulty switching equipment. 
CPBF does not dispute this, but it claims that the 



real reason behind the shutdown was to save 
money. 

When the commission refused to hold hear- 
ings on KQED's license renewals for both 1977 
and 1980 (there is a three to four-year lag time in 
license renewals), CPBF brought suit against the 
FCC before the U.S. District Court of Appeals. 
CPBF alleged that KQED misrepresented itself 
to the FCC regarding the KQEC deactivation, 
that KQED had not complied with the open 
meeting and financial disclosure provisions in 
the Public Broadcasting Act, and that the sta- 
tion's income-producing activities were interfer- 
ing with the production of local programming. 
Larry Hall, a CPBF leader, has charged that 
KQED has lost money and diverted manage- 
ment attention to the city magazine San Fran- 
cisco Focus and other commercial ventures. But 
the station claims it has been successful in these 
schemes. 

Two of the three appeals court judges agreed 
that an evidentiary hearing would be appropriate 
on the question of KQED's representation of the 
1980 KQEC deactivation, but dismissed the 
other charges. Based on the FCC's past perform- 
ance, the hearing probably won't happen soon. 

Hall claims that CPBF is not trying to get 
KQED's license revoked, but, rather, wants to 
badger the broadcaster into greater public ac- 
countability. What will happen to KQEC? 
Perhaps a more appropriate question is, what 
can happen to the channel? New York City 
responded to budget restraints by leasing com- 
mercial time on WNYC, its municipally-owned 
public television station. On the other end of the 
spectrum, the license to Philadelphia's Channel 
35 was picked up last year by a group of primar- 
ily minority, community broadcasting producers 
who will schedule independent and community- 
oriented programming. In the Bay Area, the 
Minority Television Project has petitioned to run 
its programming during the hours KQEC is off- 
air, and has even filed against KQED to take 
over KQEC's license. After a number of appeals 
and counterappeals, the MTP request is still 
pending. —Renee Tajima 

STATIONS' RIGHTS VS. CPB 

In media politics, localism is a double-edged 
sword that can work both for and against al- 
ternative voices. In cable, local control exercised 
by franchising authorities has been key to the 
creation and funding of access channels open to 
community and independent producers. In pub- 
lic television, however, independents have rarely 
been able to develop productive relationships 
with local licensees. Such licensees are held by 
government authorities, universities, and com- 
munities. In the first two cases, political 
pressures and institutional prerogatives shape 
programming priorities, while community sta- 
tion boards usually consist of pillar-of-the- 
community types with a stake in the status quo. 



THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1985 





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Station staffs, too, are subject to membership 
pressures, public television's version of ratings 
consciousness. Few licensees are willing to take 
the political or aesthetic risks that programming 
which originates outside the system involves. In- 
stead, the dollars that reach independents have 
traditionally come out of the Corporation for 
Public Broadcasting's pocket. Thus, when 
public television licensees raise the flag of 
localism, independents worry about whether 
their tiny share of public programming money is 
in jeopardy. 

Late last year, the board of the Rocky Moun- 
tain Corporation for Public Broadcasting 
(RMCPB) resolved to push for Congressional 
legislation that will make the individual li- 
censees, and not CPB, the direct recipient of fed- 
eral public broadcasting funds. At present, the 
stations receive approximately 50 percent of such 
funds, passed through CPB in the form of Com- 
munity Service Grants. Radio and the Program 
Fund each get almost a 25 percent share, and the 
Corporation pays administrative and other con- 
stant costs with the remaining 10 percent. 
RMCPB, which serves New Mexico, Colorado, 
Utah, Nevada, Montana, Arizona, Wyoming, 
and Idaho, wants to eliminate the CPB mid- 
dleman so that, together, public television and 
radio licensees will get 95 percent of the pie. 

The move revives an effort first mounted by 
RMCPB in 1981, when the Reagan adminis- 
tration succeeded in slashing CPB appropria- 
tions, alarming the system and its supporters. In 
such an atmosphere, Congressional friends of 
public television chided RMCPB lobbyists for 
attacking CPB when it was down. Four years 
later, RMCPB believes its proposal will no 
longer be considered a crackpot ploy, and, iron- 
ically, continued limits on government support 
for the system is one of the group's central argu- 
ments. 

"In a time of limited funding," said RMCPB 
executive director E.W. Bundy, "it is vital that 
the money be used in the most efficient way pos- 
sible. The fact remains that the only people legal- 
ly responsible for what appears on public televi- 
sion are the local licensees. Local boards, who 
live in the community, are the best judges of 
what is of value to that community." But do 
these boards in fact represent all of these com- 
munities? One wonders, for instance, how many 
Latiiios and Native Americans are on the boards 
of RMCPB's member stations, and how many of 
their interests are reflected in local programming, 
gramming. 

When asked if RMCPB was motivated by dis- 
satisfaction with programming now developed 
at the national level, Bundy replied, 
"Dissatisfaction is too strong a word. It is not a 
matter of everything being wrong now, but that 
things could be better. My personal belief is that 
most licensees feel that there must be develop- 
mental production at the national level. This is 
not to suggest that there should be no national 



program fund. Under our plan, there might be a 
very similiar staff, perhaps even the same staff. 
But there would be a definite difference in terms 
of including licensees' concerns in the process." 

The precedents for RMCPB's approach are 
the several proposals being considered for pub- 
lic radio. In February, the board of National 
Public Radio adopted resolutions calling for all 
federal money to be channeled directly to li- 
censees. NPR would then set a membership 
fee for those stations which wanted to receive its 
programming, based on membership revenues 
for each station as well as a separate distribution 
fee. Likewise, Bundy envisions television sta- 
tions kicking back a portion of their dramatically 
enlarged community service grants to a national 
programming fund — the critical psychological 
and political difference being that a CPB- 
administered fund would in effect be spending 
the stations' money rather than its own. 

RMCPB is willing to bide its time on the pro- 
posal. Although, following the board resolu- 
tion, the group held discussions with key 
telecommunications staffers on Capitol Hill, 
Bundy did not yet have a strong sense of 
legislators' reactions. At press time, authoriza- 
tion hearings, the first step in the funding pro- 
cedure, had not yet begun, and, Bundy said, 
"Authorization hearings may not be the proper 
time to introduce this issue. Perhaps it should be 
taken up during the appropriations process, and 
it might not come up this year at all. We're going 
to leave that decision to Congress." 

If RMCPB's proposal makes any headway, it 
will be interesting to see how the recent Program 
Fund policy of giving four seats on the Open 
Solicitation to station representatives figures in 
the debate. In the past, Program Fund director 
Ron Hull has defended the quota as a means to 
better serve the needs of the system's "con- 
sumers" — the stations. As a gesture of goodwill 
toward the licensees, the move could forestall 
some criticism of CPB. But some observers 
believe the strategy could backfire. For if giving 
the stations a major say in how Open Solicitation 
funds are spent is such a good idea, why not turn 
all programming dollars over to them, as 
RMCPB wants? CPB may argue that only a na- 
tionally representative panel, free from the 
pressures of the station environment and utiliz- 
ing the resources of "outside experts" as stated 
in the 1978 public telecommunications act, can 
fulfill the larger mission of public television. If 
so, the station representative quota has already 
weakened the credibility of that approach. — DG 

INDEPENDENT INPUT 

The majority of the 21 American works selected 
for screening at the International Public Televi- 
sion Screening Conference (INPUT), held in 
Marseilles, France last month, were independent 
productions. An international selection team, 
chaired by Mike Fentiman of the BBC and Ser- 



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8 THE INDEPENDENT 



From Bill Viola's "Anthem," shown at INPUT. 

gio Borelli of Radiotelevisione Italiana, chose 87 
television programs from around the world for 
their innovation, originality, courageousness, 
experimentation, controversy, and excellence in 
the use of new technology. Selections included 
Anthem (Bill Viola), American Survival (Jon 
Alpert and DCTV), Before Stonewall: The Mak- 
ing of a Gay and Lesbian Community (Greta 
Schiller), Bless Their Little Hearts (Billy 
Woodberry), The Departure (Emiko Omori), 
Knee Dancing (Doreen Ross), Koyaanisquatsi 
(Godfrey Reggio), Nisei Soldier (Loni Ding), A 
Reporter from Grenada (Harry Minetree), See- 
ing Red (Julia Reichart and James Klein), The 
Times of Harvey Milk (Robert Epstein and 
Richard Schmiechen), TV Commercials for Ar- 
tists: 30 Second Spots (The Kitchen), and 
Voyage of Dreams (Collis Davis and Raymond 
Cajuste). All of the programs had been offered 
to or aired on public television. Ironically, de- 
spite international recognition, several of these 
independent productions have had a hard 
time getting national airings on PBS. — R T 

SHUFFLE AT THE WALKER 

Film and video programs at the Minneapolis- 
based Walker Art Center are in for some re- 
organization when staffers Melinda Ward and 
Richard Peterson leave their posts this summer. 
Ward, director of the Media Program, will be- 
come full-time executive producer of the new 
series, "Live from Off-Center," being produced 
at KTCA-TV, the Minneapolis-public television 
affiliate. The series of eight half-hour programs 
fuse television with the performing arts and in- 
clude the work of several independent video and 
film artists. According to Ward, the series was 
first conceived at the Walker in 1982 and 1983, 
when ABC Cable approached the museum about 
developing arts programming for the network. 
The Walker's Media Program, which was estab- 
lished as a result, continued to conceptualize 
"Live from Off Center," even though ABC even- 
tually pulled out. (The program also produces 
arts education programs.) The extent of 
Walker's further involvement in the KTCA 
series has not yet been determined. 

Ward will not be replaced, and the Media Pro- 
gram will probably be moved to the museum's 
education department. But the museum plans to 
replace film/video curator Richard Peterson, 
and to continue programming film and video 
works. — RT 

MAY 1985 



FIELD REPORT 



DINNER AT EIGHT 

Toni Treadway 

Eight millimeter gatherings have a tribal nature: 
they are usually intimate, in someone's home, 
with only five or six people. Eight millimeter 
history grew out of home movies, the hearth, the 
family gathered, the cooking smells, the 
presence of ancestors, the re-creation of story- 
telling at the fire that has gone on and on for 
generations. 

Last February, on Chambers Street at the tip 
of Manhattan, Fred Barney Taylor cooked spa- 
ghetti carbonara for the filmmakers assembled 
in his loft. There were five of us: Maria 
Marewski, Jeff Preiss, Yasunori Yamamoto, 
Taylor, and me. After the spaghetti and wine, a 
couch was dragged into the big room. Taylor set 
up a stepladder behind it and put the projector 
on the paint rest: the white wall over the dining 
table served as the screen. 

Had I visited on the first Sunday of the 
month, the film gathering would have been at 
Yasunori Yamamoto's home, where for three 
years, he has cooked for people — sometimes six, 
sometimes 26 — who bring their movies. Yama- 
moto makes diary films in Super-8. He has com- 
piled more than 50 400-foot reels in the several 
years during which he has shot every day. He 
shyly points out that Super-8 affords this 
amount of production, for its eight-dollar-a-roll 
cost allows you to always have a roll in the 
camera. (His output must be approaching that 
of the French filmmaker Joseph Morder, whose 
retrospectives at festivals in Montreal or Brussels 
can be fascinating or tedious, depending on what 
part of his autobiography he is screening.) 
Yamamoto employs a variety of styles and tech- 
niques, from direct documenting of some Sun- 
day film gatherings to cine-painting the textures 
of walls in Manhattan. 

Yamamoto's cine-painting reminds me of the 



first images I ever saw by Millennium's Howard 
Guttenplan: vibrant color/ texture compositions 
of the East Village. Yamamoto studied at the 
Chicago Art Institute after "various coin- 
cidences" led him there from Japan, before he 
came to New York. Yamamoto also showed us a 
roll shot by his sister in Japan: scenes of their 
parents on their mountainside farm. The filming 
was a firmly centered documentation of a sim- 
pler way of life, a good example of a phe- 
nomenon in Super-8 that we call "postcards." 

Taylor showed several three-minute (one roll) 
postcards from filmmaker friends in different 
countries, include a devastating roll of Luis Lu- 
pone walking through the burnt remains of the 
Mexican Cinemateca. When Taylor sends a post- 
card film overseas he includes a roll of new film 
for the recipient. (The International Federation 
of Super 8 Cinema has been encouraging this ex- 
change, noting that Super-8 movies avoid the 
problems of different video standards. The 
federation has also lobbied nations to allow the 
importation of Super-8 film at lower tariffs.) 

Following a break for mint tea or coffee, 
Maria Marewski screened Scoptophilia. Intrica- 
cies in the clotheslines in a courtyard, a loving 
caress of images of laundry in the breeze: feminine 
gesture. Marewski also has an acquisitive ear, tak- 
ing in the ambience surrounding her images and 
embroidering them with poetic reflections. We 
talked about recent film literature on "the gaze." 
characterized "the (feminine) gaze." 

Jeff Preiss shoots regular 8 (rather than 
Super-8) because "it's beautiful and my lens is so 
sharp." He let us fondle his old Bolex with its 
5.5mm lens, an art object in itself. Jeffs Koda- 
chrome movies were almost more than the little 
8mm frame could hold. Pre-Spring Stop at the 
Foxhole, Part II was the most erotic film I have 
seen in years, a loving eye and all the heady, 
sweet things of the season when all our hor- 
mones come out of hibernation. Extreme, crisp 



close-up images of a woman's bare shoulder, 
spring smock, and beads, as the light of a sunny 
afternoon plays through the trees and car wind- 
shield. Personal footage without any of the de- 
vices or denigrations of pornography. I'm re- 
minded of what keeps me going in 8mm: the im- 
ages open up my senses. 

Fred Barney Taylor, the man who brought us 
together for this evening, showed us a work-in- 
progress, tentatively titled The Architecture of 
Rhythm, which will combine cultural images 
from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Domini- 
can sugar cane workers fill the screen dancing at 
a religious celebration, and Taylor follows one 
person's face for a very long time. The scene will 
be optically slowed down to broaden its effect. 

This same technique worked with great power 
in Taylor and Kimberly Safford's film Los Hijos 
de Sandino ("The Children of Sandino"), filmed 
in Nicaragua on the first anniversary of the 
revolution. Better described as social poetry than 
travelogue, Los Hijos has been successfully 
blown up to 16mm. It was created on Millenni- 
um's optical printer, a technique which Jeff 
Preiss is also exploring in his Foxhole series. 
Taylor is captivated by issues of culture, both in 
his art and in the film class he teaches. His 
massive Lives of the Artists celebrates the ethnic 
diversity of New York through portraits of 13 ar- 
tists in their neighborhoods. 

Taylor is developing a strong personal style 
that infuses his filmmaking, his cooking and his 
household. His place in Tribeca has hosted a 
parade of more than 1 50 students in the last two 
years, many of them internationals, but all peo- 
ple who want to learn more about filmmaking 
and the access that Super-8 technology provides. 
Taylor recalled one class in which he was the only 
North American amidst filmmakers from four 
continents. 

Taylor's Tuesday film workshop brought to- 
gether 10 filmmakers from Italy, Switzerland, 



Jeff Preiss shof "Lo & Yo" (left) and "Pre- 
Spring Sfop at the Foxhole, Part II" (right) in 
regular 8mm. 

MAY 1985 




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Brazil, and metro New York. The class is working 
on a joint project documenting Manhattan. It 
seemed the few rules were to shoot at 24 fps and 
to let the shots run long, so the class is editing 
material with scenes averaging one minute in 
length. The cut I saw was about one hour long. 
Jumping around the city minute by minute, each 
scene was so visually interesting and rich in am- 
bient sound that I found myself accepting the 
film's structure on its own terms. Taylor pro- 
jected the footage at 18 fps, modifying the typi- 
cal Manhattan pace and lowering the pitch of the 
audio. One remarkable sequence of a frisbee 
dancer was filmed in close-up, with incredibly 
agile shooting of twists, turns, and throws. 

Jonas Mekas, in Movie Journal, describes the 
kind of artist who chooses 8mm film: they make 
their own movies without institutional support, 
without grants from the New York State Council 
on the Arts or the National Endowment for the 
Arts, often without even applying for grants at 
all, and without many screening or distribution 
opportunities. In 8mm, it's make your own film, 
show your own film, feed your audience, and be 
free of the aesthetic and financial worries that 
plague other independents. At 16mm gatherings 
I've been to, conversations tend toward funders, 
grant deadlines, or distribution. I have heard it 
eloquently argued that the 8mm filmmaker's 
freedom from these worries leads to greater ar- 
tistic freedom. I think this is an overly simplistic 
view, but I notice that at 8mm gatherings, we talk 
about religions, mythology, cameras, travel, and 
food. Small groups of people meet all over the 
country with 8mm films. Avant-garde films, 
black-and-white narratives, music videos, 
political documentaries with footage smuggled 
from hotspots overseas, people who like to talk 
about old equipment — 8mm takes all kinds. 

Until the 1930s, 16mm was the amateur film 
gauge. When Kodak introduced 8mm in 1932, a 
schism occurred between the 16mm and 8mm 
people. This year's merger of the Metropolitan 
Motion Picture Club and the New York 8mm 
Club will finally try to heal that split. Michael 
Tomasso of the NY 8mm Club says there are 
about 30 members in each group, some ama- 
teurs, some professionals. They make docu- 
mentaries, personal films, narratives, and 
travelogues. Tomasso still owns the camera his 
dad brought home when he was a kid, a Fair- 
child Cine-phonic: "Regular 8 with sound, a hot 
item in 1962! " He adds, "Don't second guess the 
club. Just show up." 

The Metropolitan Motion Picture Club and 
the New York 8mm Club meet jointly on the 
third Tuesday of every month at the Summit 
Hotel, Lexington Ave. at 51st St., New York Ci- 
ty, at 7:30. Meetings are free and open to the 
public; if you join, dues are $15 per year. They 
try to program a variety of film styles. 

Toni Treadway is the co-author, with Bob Brod- 
sky, of Super 8 in the Video Age, available in 

English and Spanish. © Toni Treadway 1985 



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THE INDEPENDENT 11 



IN FOCUS 



IT LOOKS GREAT, BUT WILL IT WORK? 
TESTING SUPER-8 CAMERAS 



Bob Brodsky 

There are more than a few reasons for doing a 
check on the operating condition of the Super-8 
camera you're going to use next week, whether 
for play or work. The subject is important, or the 
film opportunity is unique, or you're finally in 
the best mood to make your film. And film and 
processing are expensive. 

You may have just purchased a new camera. 
The cameras of recent years are designed to close 
tolerances, so you need to find out if yours can 
function within those tolerances, and if not, 
have it repaired under warranty. More likely, 
you've rented or borrowed a camera, bought a 
used one, or, as a film teacher, had a closet full of 
junk laid on you, and you have to sort out the 
good and passable from the bad before your 
students tell you it's all junk. If you fail to check 
out an unfamiliar camera before using it, you 
have less than a fifty-fifty chance of obtaining 
acceptable results. But where do you begin a 
meaningful check? 



I have a fancy sound camera with comfortable 
earphones which I forget to take off when I put 
my camera down. As a result I've dragged the 
camera all over New England, off park benches, 
and once down a flight of stairs — it has a few 
scars. Look for scars of abuse, broken switches 
and dials, dented lens mounts, film chamber 
doors that are bent or missing screws. Note 
them, that's all. They may mean nothing. I've 
never seen a well-maintained professional 
camera that didn't look like it had seen combat 
duty. My fancy camera works perfectly. 

Examine the film chamber door latch. Does it 
close securely? Now look at the film path. Does 
it show signs of wear? Never mind the accumu- 
lated crud; you can easily clean it out. But burred 
screw slots in the film path are more alarming. 
They can be buffed smooth with very fine emery 
paper. If there is a sound recording head, note 



how worn it appears to be. Most sound cameras 
can have their heads replaced by whomever is 
doing factory service. Prices range from $50 to 
$150. File this fact; it's a bargaining point if 
you're bargain hunting. 

Look into the battery compartment. If it con- 
tains moldy batteries, you've got a problem. You 
have to clean up this mess before you can test the 
camera. Begin by scraping out the debris. Neu- 
tralize any remaining battery chemicals by wip- 
ing the compartment with baking soda solution. 
Now brighten up the battery contacts with a few 
strokes of the fine side of an emery board or 
some fine black abrasive paper. Make sure you 
clean all the grit out of the compartment and 
allow it to dry before putting in new batteries. 

Install alkaline batteries in the camera, unless 
it has its own power supply (in which case make 
sure it has been freshly charged). Alkaline bat- 
teries can be purchased for as little as 38 cents 
from battery wholesalers (such as Wagon Photo 
in Chelsea, Mass.). Install the batteries correctly 
and let the camera run without film for a minute 
or two. This will begin to remove the humps 
from the rubber drive belts. 

If you have the time to wait for processing, 
purchase a Kodak home cartridge for your test; 
otherwise, buy 7244 from a nearby Super-8 lab 
that will give you one-day or faster service. Many 
cities that lack such labs are on express bus lines 
into ones that do. Arrangements can be made 
with the lab for a fast turnaround. Plus-X stock 
can also be used for testing silent cameras. If 
you're testing a Fujica Single-8 camera, prepare 
to wait a week or 10 days for company process- 
ing. So if there's testing in your future, lay in a lit- 
tle stock now. 

Here's what you're going to test: image: 
sharpness and steadiness; exposure system: ac- 
curacy and personality; sound recording (if ap- 
plicable): distortion and modulation. 

IMAGE TESTING 

While none of the above is a major operation, 
each step requires attention. Image testing in- 



volves the lens and film transport. Begin by 
cleaning both. Clean the lens with a genuine lens 
cleaner, not eyeglass cleaner. Use only lens clean- 
ing tissues (never eyeglass wipes) to spread the 
solution in gentle swirling strokes. It takes only a 
few months in today's atmosphere to lay a 
coating of dust on an exposed lens. Clean the 
eyepiece, too. 

Clean the film path, including the sound 
recording head, with alcohol or, better, John- 
son's Lemon Pledge furniture wax, on a cotton 
swab. Don't allow either solution far inside the 
film gate because in some cameras there's an 
orange gelatin filter hidden inside. Just clean the 
edges of the gate. Wipe it all clean with a dry 
swab and blow away the remaining cotten fibers. 

Now set the diopter adjustment of the eye- 
piece to your own vision. Failure to do this has 
produced more bad Super-8 footage than any 
camera malfunction. If the viewfinder range has 
a circle with a line through the middle, adjust the 
eyepiece until the etching is sharpest to your eye. 
This is most easily done by pointing the camera 
at either the sky or another clear bright area, 
such as a light lampshade (keep the lens unfocus- 
ed). If the camera lacks the divided circle, adjust 
the diopter until you see the grain of the ground- 
glass focusing screen (again with the lens un- 
focused while pointed toward a bright area) or, 
lacking a groundglass screen (as in the simplest 
cameras), adjust the diopter until the image is 
sharpest (with the lens set for its widest angle of 
view). 

Determining the relative sharpness of a Su- 
per-8 camera involves filming in a frame-wide pat- 
tern, such as is found on much wallpaper. Put 
film in the camera, put the camera on a tripod or 
other stable support, and if you have a choice, 
set the camera to run at 1 8 fps. Zoom all the way 
in and focus carefully on the edges of the pat- 
tern. Pick a location where you can adjust the 
lighting. Film 10 seconds in light strong enough 
to indicate an aperture of about f/4. Then de- 
crease the light until the camera indicates a wide 
open aperture and film another 10 seconds. This 





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There's nothing like rococo wallpaper for 
testing edge-to-lens definition on a new 
camera acquisition. The white card helps 
judge the steadiness of the image. 



MAY 1905 



tests the practical maximum sharpness of the 
lens. 

Now prepare to test the accuracy of the back- 
focus, which is the point at which the light rays 
converge on the film. Convergence is most 
critical at wide apertures on short focal length, so 
zoom all the way out to the shortest focal length. 
(If you need to move the camera to get a frame- 
wide pattern, be sure to refocus by zooming in.) 
Now repeat the two 10-second filmings, one with 
illumination allowing an auto-exposure of about 
f/4, the other with the light diminished to force 
the aperture wide open. 

When you eventually screen the results of the 
above tests, the zoomed-in results will appear 
sharper than the wide angle results, and the f/4 
results will probably appear sharper than the 
wide-open results. But if the wide angle results 
are really a mess compared to the zoomed-in 
footage, the camera has a back-focus maladjust- 
ment and needs factory service. Be sure to send 
in the test footage, or you may get the camera 
back COD but unrepaired. 

Steadiness of registration for Super-8 cameras 
is easily tested by filming a white card across the 
bottom half of the image. Film at both 18 and 24 
fps, if possible, for 10 seconds each. When you 
project the results, raise the frameline onto the 
screen and observe any jitter between the white 
part of the image and the scene below it. This 
method of testing enables you to distinguish be- 
tween camera unsteadiness and projection un- 
steadiness. A small amount of jitter in each is 
common. 

EXPOSURE SYSTEM TESTING 

The exposure metering in Super-8 cameras is 
usually connected to the diaphragm blades. Film 
a bright scene with a wide range of mixed bright- 
ness levels. Keep the light behind you. Ten 
seconds at 18 fps will be sufficient. When you 
review the scene in a darkened screening room, 
get a sense of how the exposure meter deals with 
the range. More light objects in the frame, in- 
cluding sky, will darken the other objects, and 
vice versa. There are no standards, but the 
resulting images should be well-exposed, con- 
sidering the proportion of lights to darks. 

Auto-exposure systems have personalities. 
Some are skittish, altering exposure at the 
slightest shift in light entering the lens. Some are 
so sensitive that they will change exposure when 
light reflects toward the lens from the windshield 
of a passing car that never even gets into the 
frame. Such systems create more problems. 
Other auto-exposure systems, particularly the 
ones that do not meter the light through the lens, 
adjust more slowly. When tracking from a light 
area into a dark one, these systems very gradually 
increase the exposure. Somewhere in-between 
these two kinds of systems is preferable. It's 
possible to outwit these two types of systems 
somewhat; however, you must first know the 
tendencies of the particular auto-system. 

To test the peculiarities of an auto-exposure 
MAY 1985 



system, film while panning from a light to dark 
area and back. Do it quickly; do it slowly. If 
there is a back-light control, try that, too, on 
both front-lit and back-lit subjects. Don't shoot 
a lot of film; you can accomplish all of this in 15 
seconds, again at 18 fps. If there is a + 1 switch, 
don't use it in this test; it will only confuse your 
results. 

SOUND RECORDING TESTING 

Sound Super-8 cameras require two simple tests: 
one for distortion and another for modulation 
indication. You will need a trusted microphone. 
If there is no such instrument, buy one of the 
new Radio Shack $12.95 lavaliers and get ac- 
quainted with it by plugging it into a cassette 
recorder or deck. This is a wide-range mic. With 
a few exceptions — the Canon 1014XL-S 
dynamic omnidirectional mic and the mics sup- 
plied with the Nizo Integral and 6080 sound 
cameras — don't use the mic supplied by the 
camera. In all cases you will need a microphone 
extension cord to get the mic away from the 
camera running noise. (For Nizo Integrals order 
a mic adapter kit from Super-8 Sound.) 

With the camera on a tripod, stand about 10 
feet in front of the camera; while speaking (with 
the mic about 18 inches from your mouth), ex- 
pose 20 seconds of film at 18 fps. If the camera 
has a high and low level recording switch, use 
both. If it has a manual level, make a 40 percent 
level test. Make sure you conduct these tests 
completely protected from any wind. 

Most sound Super-8 cameras can deal with ex- 
tremely loud sounds only over an extended time, 
and even then they will distort. They do not have 
limiters. So it pays to know what the viewfinder 
indicators tell you when sound is being optimally 
recorded. Some of them hardly indicate at all, 
while others put on a real light show or peg their 
meter needles to the wall. Recently I tested two 
new cameras and eventually found them more 
than adequate. However, initial tests (following 
the instruction manual) failed to produce accep- 
table results. The lesson seems to be to test over a 
range of the camera's controls and note how 
each setting is indicated in the viewfinder so you 
can obtain the same results under varying cir- 
cumstances. You can consider your sound test a 
success if the screened footage has natural voice 
sounds and is free from distortion on one or 
more of the settings. 

Remember, Super-8 cameras, unlike profes- 
sional ones, are consumer items. They are 
intended to be thrown out when they wear out. 
Luckily, many were made to last, some can be 
repaired, and, with a modicum of care, will 
function for years. In fact, there are thousands 
of fine cameras being resurrected around the 
world, and a few of the best ones are still in pro- 
duction. 

Bob Brodsky is co-author, with Toni Treadway, 
of Super 8 in the Video Age. 

tiBob Brodsky 1985 



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Bard College 

Box FC. Annandale-on-Hudson 
New York 12504 (914) 758-4105/758-6822 

Financial aid available. 



THE INDEPENDENT 13 



Lauren-Glenn Davitian 

Welcome to the Information Age! Experts tell us 
that the microchip is the most significant innova- 
tion since the printing press, and that advanced 
electronics will democratize the production and 
distribution of information. But we still find 
Americans who cannot read and communities 
without adequate library' services. Literacy and 
education, two mainstays of democracy, are not 
enhanced by technological innovations, but, 
rather, by political and economic policies that 
ensure access to technology and information. 
Specifically, access depends on decisions made 
by large communications providers (telephone 
companies, multi-system cable operators, com- 
puter manufacturers), regulatory agencies (the 
Federal Communications Commission, state 
agencies, local utility boards), legislators, and 
media advocacy groups — each with some stake 
in public opinion and the public interest. And for 
the public there is a lot at stake: those who can- 
not fully participate in the Information Age may 
not get an adequate education, make a living 
wage, or even afford to be entertained. 

Information has become a commodity like 
food, fuel, or gold. Profits are made not by serv- 
ing the most diverse telephone, television, or 
electronic system users, but by cultivating mass 
markets in densely populated areas. Information 
economics encourages communications firms to 
overlook obscure markets: the poor who live in 
what the Census Bureau calls "metropolitan" 
areas and the approximately 28 percent of U.S. 
residents in rural communities. Ghettoized by 
location and income, neither Harlem businesses 
nor Vermont farmers qualify as desirable con- 
sumers. Consequently, such groups remain un- 
derserved by information industries: the range 
and quality of services they receive suffers, and 
they pay more for the services they do obtain. 

Any initiative to provide up-to-date telecom- 
munications for the underprivileged is based on 
the principle that every citizen should have access 
to information. In keeping with provisions of the 
Telecommunications Act of 1934, media ad- 
vocates and some legislators have tried to ensure 
universal telephone service, equal time responses 
to broadcast programs, public access to cable 
TV, and competitive pricing for electronic serv- 
ices and components. Now, concessions gained 
from commercial communications industries are 
threatened by deregulation and budget cuts at 
the federal level. Without public safeguards, the 
boundaries maintained by large communica- 
tions providers will be tightly drawn around the 
metropolitan areas that generate the highest pro- 
fits. Representative Timothy Wirth (D. -Col- 
orado) explains this process, in light of the recent 
AT&T breakup and deregulation: 

The 50-year effort to bring affordable and 
universally available telephone service to 
14 THE INDEPENDENT 




the public has served the nation well. 
Universal telephone service has contributed 
to the nation's economic, social and 
political integration and development. 
Each telephone subscriber receives a more 
valuable senice when anyone else in the 
country can be called. Universal service is 
threatened by significant rate increases that 
will impact especially hard upon the poor, 
elderly, handicapped and those living in 
high-cost urban and rural areas. 
{Congressional Record, July 21, 1983) 

Deregulation is not the only threat to 
equitable distribution of information resources. 
Many states in the U.S. have not yet entered the 
Information Age. State legislators and develop- 



ment agencies realize the need to modernize tele- 
communications infrastructures before they can 
attract high-tech industries and related 
businesses. More high-tech industry, however, 
does not guarantee wide diffusion of informa- 
tion. Communities with the greatest need for 
jobs, improved services, and a stable tax base are 
least able to pay the price of moderniza- 
tion — and, therefore, cannot partake in the 
benefits of improved communications. 

One prominent promise of the Information 
Age is the decentralization of information pro- 
duction and consumption, but technology will 
not decentralize itself. As independent pro- 
ducers, we are especially attuned to the problems 
of information access. We understand that in- 
formation — like fair housing, racial and gender 

MAY 1985 




equality, and foreign policy, for example — en- 
tails economic, political, and social decisions. 
We are interested in equal access to commun- 
ications and, through our work, attempt to give 
others a voice, offer alternative points of view, 
and teach people to be critical. Because informa- 
tion and communication are our materials, we 
can play an important role in advising under- 
served people to speak for themselves. And since 
the deregulated market emphasizes the role of 
consumers, the informed and outspoken buyer 
may be able to influence the shape and develop- 
ment of communications in his or her community. 



Vermont is second smallest, thirty-sixth lowest in 
per capita income, and one of the most rural 
MAY 1985 



states in the country: half a million citizens, 66 
percent living outside urban areas. Vermont 
might seem a classic example of a state where 
telephone, cable, and other communications 
services have been hopelessly backward. But it is 
not. A tradition of local decisionmaking has 
enabled local entrepreneurs and cooperatives to 
provide Vermonters with communications net- 
works for nearly 100 years. 

Some of the earliest telephone companies 
were founded in Vermont, and there were more 
than 150 companies in the state prior to con- 
solidation in the 1930s by New England Tele- 
phone and Continental. Operated "for the con- 
venience of the stockholders," the first com- 
panies served between four and a few hundred 
subscribers. Today, nine telephone companies 



connect in Vermont; the largest, New England 
Tel, serves 85 percent of the state. Cable televi- 
sion was originally introduced by rural en- 
trepreneurs in search of markets for their televi- 
sion sets. Vermont was one of the first states to 
acquire clear reception via cable in 1952. Like the 
early telephone industry, giant multiple-system 
companies had not yet been conceived. Even to- 
day, only six of the state's 40 cable companies 
have been acquired by major out-of-state 
multiple-system operators. 

Vermont has managed to wire itself despite 
the absence of large communications companies 
during formative times, but there has been no 
significant improvement in telephone or cable 
service in the past 30 years. Only 10 percent of 
the state is equipped for digital telephone 
capability (preventing access to alternative long 
distance service such as MCI or SPRINT), most 
cable companies still provide 12 channels of pro- 
gramming, and there is not one satellite uplink in 
the entire state. "When the operator thanks you 
for calling AT&T," quips Vermont Public Serv- 
ice Board chair Louise McCarren, "remind her 
you don't have a choice." 

Until now, Vermont's economic prospects 
rested on the "three-legged stool" of tourism, 
agriculture, and manufacturing. Tourism and 
agriculture give the state its rural character, but 
tourism generates only 14 percent of the gross 
state product, and agriculture a mere five per- 
cent. In fact, Vermont imports 90 percent of its 
food. In Vermont development circles, there has 
been an enduring ambivalence between preserving 
the rural "quality of life" and building a firm tax 
base. Now, however, the question, according to 
University of Vermont president Lattie Coor, "is 
no longer whether development will occur, but 
how." 

Given Vermont's economic woes, the advent 
of the Information Age offers some hope and re- 
quires some careful planning. McCarren points 
out, "Vermont's economic outlook is uniquely 
sensitive and dependent upon the ability to at- 
tract industry which is compatible with its en- 
vironment. To attract this kind of industry, 
which is generally believed to be high-tech, clean 
industry, it is going to be necessary, if not critical, 
for the state to have in place a modern telecom- 
munications system that provides the communi- 
cations needs of the new industries we seek to at- 
tract." After all, in the past decade other New 
England states have reversed cycles of slow 
growth and unemployment by courting new, 
information-based industries. Why not redress 
Vermont's 100 years of zero growth with the pro- 
mise of high technology? Massachusetts and 
New Hampshire have most successfully capit- 
alized on what Lynne Brown of the Federal 
Reserve Bank of Boston describes as: 

• the region's history of industrialization, 
pool of skilled labor and entrepreneurial 
talent; 

• the plethora of universities and colleges 

THE INDEPENDENT 15 



serving as a source of technological innova- 
tion and professional and technical man- 
power; 

• the availability of venture capital in the 
Northeast (52.3 percent of all venture capital 
funds in America are in the Northeast); 

• the fact that high technology has not had to 
compete with other industries for manpower 
or financing. 

Brown concludes that "the most important ele- 
ment behind the development of high tech- 
nology in New England is hardest to influence by 
public policy — the spirit of enterprise." 

A recent issue of High Technology (January 
1985) focuses on states' effort to attract 
information-based industry, outlining a set of 
necessary conditions similar to those cited by 
Brown. Based on these criteria, Vermont's 
greatest potential for Information Age pros- 
perity lies in in its most economically developed 
area in the northwest corner of the state, at the 
junction of the Winooski River and Lake 
Champlain. 

While the rest of the state endured 100 years of 
no growth and a steady exodus of people, Chit- 
tenden County flourished as the historic seat of 
commerce and industry. As a nineteenth-century 
lumber kingdom, and later a center for textile 
production, the county has, with foresight and 
entrepreneurial skill, forged its way into the high 
technology era as the sixteenth most affluent 
county in the U.S. 

The closing of the cotton and woolen mills in 
the mid-1950s left 50 percent of the county's 
workforce unemployed. The efforts of the 
Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation, 
established to create jobs and resurrect the 
region's prosperity, successfully appealed to 
IBM and General Electric to locate the state's 
largest plants there. Twenty-five percent of Ver- 
mont's population now lives in Chittenden 
County, and their labor provides 30 percent of 
state revenues. Significantly, 13 percent of the 
entire Vermont working population is employed 
in high-tech industry — the third highest percen- 
tage in the country. The majority of these 
workers can be found in Chittenden County. 
Given this track record, further development of 
high-tech industry is likely to occur in Chit- 
tenden County. New England Tel's plans to 
upgrade telephone service and Cox Cable's 



54-channel, interactive system will serve the 
growing needs of commerce and leisure, making 
the region even more attractive. 

As a first step toward creating interest in new 
technologies and laying the groundwork for a 
telecommunications and development policy, 
lieutenant governor Peter Smith and UVM's 
Lattie Coor convened Vermont planners, bank- 
ers, industrialists, regulators, and legislators at 
the Vermont Telecommunications Seminar last 
October. Communications experts from IBM, 
AT&T, New England Tel, and Harvard neatly 
outlined the Information Age for participants, 
who, for the most part, had never considered the 
implications of telephone/computer interfaces, 
satellite uplinks, teletext services, two-way cable 
service, or fiber optic telephone networks. 
Assured that Vermont's decisionmakers would 
make a commitment to technological develop- 
ment, NET vice-president Bailey Geislin an- 
nounced plans to invest $50-million to wire the 
state's urban corridor (Burlington, Rutland, 
Montpelier) with fiber optics by 1987 and ex- 
pand digital capability throughout the state by 
1990. 

Developments such as Cox Cable's plans to 
upgrade its three largest territories from 12 to 54 
channels with interactive capacity and public ac- 
cess facilities, or the growth of telephone "inter- 
connect" companies (alternatives to regional 
Bell operating companies), will improve the 
state's information choices and help attract new 
business. However, the parade of sophisticated 
technology that so impressed the presentors and 
audience at the telecommunications seminar will 
continue to concentrate the production and 
distribution of information in the state's most 
populated areas. While fostering growth, state 
legislators and developers should suspend their 
enthusiasm for the panacea of the Information 
Revolution long enough to consider that their 
plans to build a tax base favor urban areas and 
large corporations. 

Issues of affordable, up-to-date telephone 
and cable service will ultimately be resolved by 
the Vermont Public Service Board. As a regu- 
latory agency, the PSB must guarantee rate- 
payers services they can afford while allowing 
communications companies a fair rate of return. 
The effect of deregulation on the PSB's regulat- 
ory power has not yet been determined; the 
board will soon rule on cable television (which 



will clarify their role in rate-making and fran- 
chise renewal) and continues to negotiate with 
large and small utilities in the public's interest. In 
the course of arbitration, small businesses and 
noncommercial interests must insist on the kind 
of service they need — and the rates they are will- 
ing to pay. Given the chance to articulate their 
needs, small communities should make sure they 
get a chance to plug into the networks of infor- 
mation distribution and thus participate in 
economic expansion. Access advocates must go 
further, making sure that production and 
distribution resources become available to all 
sectors of the Vermont population. Can existing 
public information networks — cable TV, public 
TV and radio, libraries — be improved at 
reasonable costs? How do we incorporate new 
technologies — computers, satellite dishes, 
VCRs — into community life? What are effective 
strategies for decentralizing and sharing infor- 
mation in Vermont? What would a one-room 
schoolhouse do with a satellite uplink? Does a 
town of 1 ,000 need a 54-channel interactive cable 
system? The question is not simply money, but 
appropriate technology. 



Although public telecommunications policy in 
the Information Age often means industrial 
policy — a region's attempt to cultivate economic 
growth — well-planned, innovative communica- 
tions systems can also help revive community 
functions threatened by an unchecked quest for 
profits. And already existing public information 
networks can provide a foundation for future 
activity. For example, public television in Ver- 
mont, though modest, offers some public affairs 
programming geared to a regional audience. The 
state's sole public TV station, Vermont ETV 
(based in Chittenden County), covers statewide 
issues on a series of news magazines, interview 
programs, and the ever-popular call-in shows. 
One regular two-way program, Hot Line, gives 
public figures like the governor and the Vermont 
congressional delegation a chance to speak with 
constituents in a public forum. The mainstay of 
ETV's daytime schedule is educational program- 
ming at all levels. And, recently, the system has 
produced local programs with potential national 
appeal. 

Despite awareness of public responsibility, 
Vermont ETV remains a broadcaster. Because 






16 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1985 




of its centralized location and budget limita- 
tions, production concentrates on general topics 
in predictable formats. Since funding continues 
to be jeopardized, public TV may never be able 
to address the varied interests of many segments 
of the Vermont population. 

With interactive cable on the horizon and 
cable systems in place, cable TV becomes an 
eminently appropriate medium for local com- 
munications. Charlie Larkin, an analyst for the 
Vermont Department of Public Service, claims 
that the state's cable TV systems will be upgraded 
in the next five years. Larkin admits that the cost 
for service will increase accordingly, and some 
subscribers may not be able to afford cable, but 
he foresees an eventual decrease in rates for basic 
service — reception of broadcast channels, and in 
most cases, public access — as cable operators 
add a greater variety of pay and special program- 
ming. Michael Billingsley, a member of Onion 
River TV in Montpelier and an early advocate of 
media access in Vermont, envisions New 
England Tel's fiber optic network as a potential 
link for public access centers across the state. 
With similar technological enthusiasm, Bob 
McGill, new owner of the Burlington-Rutland- 
Montpelier cable TV franchise (formerly a Cox 
Cable system), believes that his smaller Vermont- 
owned company can successfully initiate two- 
way banking, electronic shopping, and electric 
load management for subscribers. In these cases, 
access to information may bring the previously 
underserved into the mainstream, but 
technological solutions need to be matched with 
innovations that encourage self-sufficiency and 
attend to specific community interests. 

In 1979, the Supreme Court ruled against FCC 
provisions ensuring public access channels, 
equipment, and five minutes of unrestricted free 
time to private individuals, but the Cable 
Deregulation Act of 1984 allows franchising 
authorities (the PSB in Vermont, for instance) 
the right to require prospective cable owners to 
allocate and support access channels. Statewide, 
full-scale access is not mandated, however, and 
public awareness of access possibilities remains 
vague; therefore, public education is the 
necessary first step toward obtaining practical, 
effective access centers. Such efforts are not 
unknown in Vermont, one of the first states to 
boast public access facilities. Many of these early 
projects floundered, however, because eager 



community media organizers failed to hand 
equipment over to local residents. When pro- 
ducers relocated in cities where they could find 
work, they took their expertise. 

Now, the most successful projects, and a basis 
for future access activities, can be found in high 
schools. For instance, Bellows Falls students 
produce a daily news program, an informed and 
well-produced alternative to the network af- 
filiates' news. The state's largest public access 
center is Brattleboro Community Television, 
reaching 4,600 subscribers; Warner-Amex en- 
dowed the center with equipment in the late 
1970s, and the center now programs several 
hours a day. But their $14,000 yearly operating 
budget must be subsidized by production of 
local commercials and underwriting for video 
projects. Cox Cable plans to build three major 
access centers in Vermont's largest cities — Burl- 
ington, Rutland, and Montpelier — that may 
serve as an important base for other access pro- 
ducers. Two years of discussions have preceded 
the studios' openings; meanwhile, programming 
by nonprofits, independents, and high shool 
groups is under way in these communities. 

Electronic media alone will not bring Vermont 
into the Information Age. Michael Bowman of 
the Vermont Council on the Humanities and 
Public Issues regards advanced technology as a 
means to diffuse educational resources to all 
areas, urban and rural. The council's speakers 
bureau and book discussion series have been its 
most successful projects in remote com- 
munities — so successful that other states have in- 
itiated similar programs. There are also model 
programs for public access TV or distribution via 
videocassettes — the groundwork for alternative 
media in Vermont. 



Clearly, Vermont legislators, regulators, 
educators, and industrialists are keen to chart a 
course for the state's telecommunications fu- 
tures. Under the auspices of the statehouse and 
with the assistance of major communications 
firms, UVM and Vermont Technical College 
have drafted a proposal for a research grant to 
examine how the state can attract and generate 
new business without sacrificing public com- 
munications needs. Perry Johnson, policy 
analyst for UVM, outlines five areas being 
studied: appropriate technology for Vermont 



(not just the "gee whiz" stuff); funding for 
telecommunications development (a state 
authority to issue bonds?); governing structures 
for development (public, private, or a combina- 
tion of both?); methods for ascertaining the 
needs of sophisticated users and those with basic 
access needs; and, finally, ways to encourage 
citizens to understand and use new technologies 
and networks. The approach and tenor of the 
proposal is encouraging news for all Ver- 
monters. And Vermont independent producers 
and media advocates can play an important role 
in the development and application of a 
statewide communications policy, creating pro- 
grams that describe how new technologies 
benefit local users, and working with interested 
local groups. Together, we can design affor- 
dable, accessible communications services and 
negotiate with decisionmakers. Our experience 
with access and familiarity with information 
sources will aid any effort to build cable access 
facilities, community computer networks, and 
closed-circuit program distribution. In this 
task — public education — we are not very dif- 
ferent from the independent producers John 
Grierson addressed in the 1940s. 

In one matter, we are very particular: we do 
not believe in the general public quite so 
naively as the salesmen and the advertisers 
seem to do. We see the so-called general 
public as divided up into a thousand and 
one publics of specialized interests: people 
interested and active in rural libraries, rural 
community halls and rural planning; people 
interested in the active and actual achieve- 
ment of higher standards of nutrition and 
child welfare and public health; people ac- 
tually and actively interested in town plan- 
ning and regional planning .... These must 
inevitably be the growing points of an ac- 
tivist system of education. 
(Grierson on Documentary, edited by For- 
syth Hardy, 1946, Faber & Faber) 

Lauren-Glenn Davitian is the founder of Chit- 
tenden Community Television and associate 
producer for Resources, Inc., a communications 
firm based in Burlington, Vermont. The author 
wishes to extend special thanks to Dr. Laurel 
Church for her clear thinking and assistance in 
the research and writing of this article. 

; Lauren-Glenn Davitian 1985 



MAY 1985 







THE INDEPENDENT 17 



BUCKS ■ THE IMS 



THERE 




FORACTIO 




Nolan A. Bowie 



Participants at "Blacks and the Mass Media, " 
an Aspen Institute conference held in Aspen, 
Colorado in August, 1984, met to discuss the 
failure of the mass media to both portray and 
employ blacks fully or fairly. The conference 
urged that the media take strenuous affirmative 
action efforts to overcome decades of employ- 
ment discrimination, and that the entertainment 
industry broaden the range of character portray- 
als open to black performers. It supported tac- 
tics ranging from friendly persuasion to demon- 
strations and boycotts in order to change the 
media. 

Twenty-nine people, 13 of whom were black, 
participated in the conference (a complete list of 
attendees is appended), which was chaired by 
Michael J. O'Neill, former editor the New York 
Daily News. Below is an excerpt from the con- 
ference report, reprinted with permission of the 
Aspen Institute and the author. Full copies of the 
report can be obtained from the Aspen Institute, 
One Lincoln Plaza, New York, NY 10023. 



After five intense, three-hour discussion sessions 
based on evidence drawn from news articles, 
scholarly reports, books, and professional jour- 
nals, the participants concluded that the greatest 
structural barrier to fair treatment of blacks in 
the mass media is the widespread failure to cor- 
rect historical discrimination. The underemploy- 
ment of blacks is worst in the most important 
and influential positions — owners, managers, 
publishers, editors, correspondents, producers, 
directors, lead players, scriptwriters, and other 
creative and professional roles. 

In the last few years, the share of jobs held by 
blacks in the broadcast industry has actually 
declined — from nine percent in 1981 and 1982 to 
8.9 percent in 1983. The conference charged the 

18 THE INDEPENDENT 



Federal Communications Commission with 
non-enforcement of the equal opportunity obli- 
gations that the Commission itself had laid down 
for broadcasters. It was also argued that the cur- 
rent move to "deregulate" broadcasting has 
undermined the advances blacks were making 
under the previous effects of rules relating to 
ownership, employment, and community-re- 
sponsive programming. 

The picture is no better in cable television 
where, in 1982, blacks held only 3,982, or 7.6 
percent of 52,464 jobs, not counting head- 
quarters personnel. Only three percent of the of- 
ficers and managers at the local level were black, 
and, at headquarters, only 4.7 percent. 

In the movie industry, from the third quarter 
of 1981 to the second quarter of 1983, blacks 
represented 11.8 percent of the 53,980 actors 
holding membership in the Screen Actors Guild, 
yet they account for only 8.8 percent of all lead 
players and logged only 5.9 percent of all the 
time worked by SAG members. 

Daily newspapers in the United States em- 
ployed some 50,000 people as reporters, copy 
editors, photographers, artists, and news ex- 
ecutives in 1983, but only 2,800 (5.6 percent) 
were members of racial minorities (as compared 
with 20 percent in the general population). In 
that year, 97 percent of all newspaper news ex- 
ecutives were white. Moreover, 60 percent of the 
nation's daily newspapers employed no minority 
journalists at all. 

The mass media are as much powerful mold- 
ers of beliefs, images, and myths as they are 
vehicles for presenting facts and other informa- 
tion. They constitute the crucial distribution 
system of messages to and among members of 
the American public. They help to shape opinion 
on political, social, and cultural affairs, and, not 
least, attitudes toward minorities, of whom the 
white majority may have little first-hand 
knowledge. 

The mass media are also businesses, driven by 



profit incentives, and increasingly, the forces of 
large-scale corporate enterprise. Although 
blacks represent a $163-billion-a-year consumer 
market, they are generally not addressed as a 
commercially desirable audience. 

So-called "general audience programming" 
on television is synonymous with "white au- 
dience programming" created by, about, and 
primarily for whites between the ages of 1 8 and 49 
with above-average incomes. Even specials about 
blacks are more often than not the product of 
whites who, though well-intentioned, still reflect 
the racial isolation of the larger society. 

As has been true historically, the images and 
portrayals of blacks in non-news contexts still 
tend toward stereotypes. Blacks appearing in 
entertainment programming on television, for 
example, are cast almost always as singers, 
dancers, musicians, athletes, victims or vic- 
timizers, and back-up law enforcers. Working 
class blacks in other occupations are seldom 
seen, but poor blacks are shown, and poor black 
women are depicted all too often as "big 
mamas" — fat, unattractive, servile in status if 
not in behavior. 

News coverage of blacks is mostly limited to 
three areas: sports, crime, and civil rights. Televi- 
sion rarely presents black experts or commen- 
tators, not even on matters of special interest to 
blacks but especially not on topics of wider in- 
terest. Only two blacks currently have syn- 
dicated newspaper columns. Across all daily 
newspapers in the country, only 30 or so blacks 
are employed as editorial writers. 

The obstacles to black ownership of mass 
media, whether in broadcasting, cable television, 
newspapers, or other channels, are great and 
growing greater: prohibitive entry costs, discrim- 
ination by advertisers, scarcity of available 
outlets, and, in broadcasting, the abandonment 
of rules that were designed to prevent excessive 
ownership concentration and to encourage the 
entry of minority owners. 

MAY 1985 



MEDIA: 

TUNS TO TAKE 



Author Nolan A. Bowie in a recent "Paper 
Tiger TV public access cable program. 




Blacks currently own less than two percent of 
licensed and operating radio and television sta- 
tions. Of the more than 10,000 stations, some 90 
black companies own around 160, and 40 to 50 
of those companies are in financial straits 
because of high debt service and the difficulty of 
maintaining an adequate advertising base. Spec- 
trum scarcity is still a profound obstacle to black 
ownership of commercial television stations: 
there are no unused television channels left in the 
top 25 markets and only a few vacant VHF chan- 
nels in the top 100 markets (the areas where most 
blacks live). The price of existing VHF television 
stations is almost everywhere out of reach: in 
1983, KHOU-TV in Houston was sold for 
$342-million! 

Ultimately, the barriers to black employment 
and ownership in mass media affect the style and 
content of the messages printed and transmit- 
ted — a point made repeatedly by Reverend Jesse 
Jackson during the brief and historic period 
when he had ready access to the mass media as a 
candidate in the Democratic presidential pri- 
maries. While the American media may be the 
"best in the world," in Jackson's words, they 
persistently fail to assess the significance of black 
voters, who have been "underpolled, under- 
estimated and undercounted." 

Since 1978, the FCC and Congress have ac- 
tively pursued the "deregulation" of broad- 
casting rules and laws deemed obsolete because 
of changes in telecommunications technology 
and the media marketplace. Proponents of de- 
regulation have argued that the present Com- 
munications Act and its public-interest standard 
no longer serve a useful purpose and may actual- 
ly inhibit programming diversity. Opponents 
have argued that "deregulation" is a code word 
for the strengthening of corporate rights and 
privileges at the expense of the public. 

In any event, blacks have not been helped by 
the elimination of rules that once required 
broadcasters to ascertain the needs and interests 

MAY 1985 



of the black community (as well as other signifi- 
cant groups) and to provide responsive program- 
ming. Nor have blacks (or other listeners and 
viewers) benefited from the move to relieve 
broadcasters of the requirement to air a reason- 
able amount of non-entertainment — news and 
public affairs — programming. Citizen challenges 
to broadcast licensees have been made more dif- 
ficult, too, since broadcasters were freed of their 
former obligation to keep logs on the programs 
they aired: the public and the FCC itself have 
been robbed of a useful tool for holding broad- 
casters accountable to the public interest. 
Because of deregulation, commercial radio 
licensees need only file an application the size of 
a postcard once every seven years to gain 
renewal. 

Now the FCC and some members of Congress 
have proposed doing away with the Fairness 
Doctrine besides. That further step at deregula- 
tion would remove the longstanding require- 
ment that broadcasters must deal with issues of 
public importance and must provide on-the-air 
opportunities or the expression of contrasting 
views on those issues. Without the Fairness Doc- 
trine (and its associated " personal attack " rules) , 
blacks and others will lack a crucial measure of 
leverage in insisting that broadcasters present a 
wide variety of views. 

For those losses, there will be small compensa- 
tions for blacks in the new and emerging 
technologies (low power TV, direct broadcast 
satellites, home videocassettes, etc.). Those 
channels are being left to market forces, and the 
market forces dictate specialized services to nar- 
row, upscale audience targets. The new media 
will be, if anything, even more irrelevant and in- 
accessible to blacks than the old. 

RECOMMENDATIONS 
Employment 

The participants in the Aspen Institute con- 



ference recommended that mass media 
organizations voluntarily adopt effective and 
verifiable affirmative action programs, to in- 
clude: 

• Putting black employees onto the "fast 
track," or into accelerated skills development 
or training programs, leading to editorial and 
other decision-making positions affecting 
media content, hiring, promotions, personnel 
assignments, marketing sales; 

• Training managers and editors to be more 
sensitive to the nexus between employment 
policy and media content, particularly the 
danger of negative portrayals and racist 
stereotyping originating from a work force 
composed and directed almost entirely by 
white males; 

• Recognizing that effective equal employ- 
ment opportunity policies and practices are 
simply good business; 

• Linking their managers' bonuses and ad- 
vancement opportunities to their success in 
meeting minority hiring and promotion goals; 

• Assigning blacks to a greater diversity of 
roles, responsibilities and situations. 

The conference also urged blacks themselves 
to monitor, vigilantly and systematically, the 
employment practices of mass media companies 
and to bring sufficient and appropriate measures 
against any media employer that unlawfully dis- 
criminates against blacks or fails to make reason- 
able progress toward righting imbalances in its 
work force. 

Special appeal was made to the FCC to en- 
force, vigorously and effectively, its own EEO 
rules and regulations, recognizing that any 
"zone of reasonableness" measuring the record 
of a broadcaster in hiring and promoting blacks 
should presume movement toward achieving at 
least the same proportion of blacks in the top 
four job categories as exists in the available work 
force in the vicinity. 

THE INDEPENDENT 19 



Organizing, Networking, and Coalition- 
Building 

Blacks should continue to form alliances or 
coalitions with Hispanic-American, women's, 
and other media access or advocacy groups, as 
well as with the more traditional civil rights 
organizations, churches, and labor unions. 
Their joint aim should be to broaden legitimate 
public participation in the media and to create a 
greater awareness of media empowerment via 
access to channels of distribution and publica- 
tion, fair employment and opportunities for 
ownership. 

All-out efforts must be made to convince the 
average citizen, white as well as black, of the 
seriousness of the problem — that the mass media 
are still giving minorities short shrift, that 
everyone suffers from this imbalance, and that 
those in the responsible positions must be re- 
quired to take constructive action. 

Leaders of the such national groups as the 
Congressional Black Caucus, the NAACP, the 
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, 
Inc., the National Association of Black Jour- 
nalists, the National Black Media Coalition, the 
Office of Communication of the United Church 
of Christ, Sigma Delta Chi, black sororities and 
fraternities, the National Bar Association, the 
National Council of Black Lawyers, and the 
American Civil Liberties Union should meet to 
review the problems, to assess the requirements 
of a properly effective national information and 
telecommunications policy, and to formulate a 
manifesto for positive change and measure pro- 
gress. These groups should move issues of media 
policy and practice into their top agenda items, 
treating them with no less importance than their 
established concerns with civil rights, education, 
housing, and jobs. 

Media outlets should themselves be used to 
educate people on their rights to file petitions to 
deny license renewals to broadcasters whose 
service to their community is inadequate or un- 
fair, to take pan in FCC rulemaking and other 
proceedings, and to play a role in local cable 
franchising — or other matters of state and city 
telecommunications policy. 

Letter-writing campaigns should be initiated 
and directed to the three commercial networks, 
local television and radio stations, cable com- 
panies, and newspapers, whenever calling atten- 
tion to a specific portrayal, program, or an arti- 
cle can exemplify the general problem. Blacks in 
particular should express their opinions in the 
media, including the black press, about signs of 
racism, negative or unrealistic portrayals, and in- 
adequate coverage. They should be no less vocal 
in praising good work when it appears. 

Parents, especially black parents, should 
teach their children how to watch television and 
to read newspapers critically. Many adults must 
learn these skills themselves. For the public, the 
problems and issues of media power must be 
demystified. 
20 THE INDEPENDENT 



Government Regulation and Legislation 

It is crucial that black citizens attempt to in- 
fluence legislation and rule-making at local, 
state, and federal levels, since politics, rather 
than courtrooms, will be the arena for change in 
the future. The black community must therefore 
become informed about pending matters before 
local cable franchising authorities, state cable 
regulators, the FCC, and Congress. 

Blacks should be aware of the implications 
and negative consquences that deregulation may 
have for their already limited opportunities for 
broadcast employment, ownership, and access 
to the airwaves. Blacks should put their support 
not only behind retaining certain existing public 
interest requirements of broadcasters, like the 
Fairness Doctrine, but also extending those re- 
quirements to the new and emerging media tech- 
nologies. 

Demonstrations, Dialogue, Negotiations, 
Lawsuits and Boycotts 

Mass media owners and executives must be 
made aware of the continuing and prevalent 
racism, whether intentional or unconscious, in 
their industry. They must take the intiative to 
share media power with blacks and other min- 
orities by integration of their staff and talent 
ranks: by fair and balanced portrayals; and by 
accepting responsibility for their part in the out- 
come. If they choose not to pursue what is fair, 
reasonable and lawful, blacks — alone and with 
the assistance of allies — will inevitably exert 
pressure. 

Frederick Douglass, the abolitionist, ex-slave, 
first black diplomat of the United States and first 
black to publish newspapers in the United States 
(The North Star and Frederick Douglass's 
Paper, 1845-1860), said, "Power concedes 
nothing without demands." Indeed, pressure 
from blacks in the struggle for equal rights in 
other areas has proved effective in bringing 
about positive change. It is unwise to assume 
that such pressure will be any the less necessary 
with the mass media. 

Dialogue, negotiation, and other non-litigious 
avenues should always be tried first in resolving 
problems between blacks and mass media organ- 
izations. But when those efforts fail, blacks and 
others should resort, as appropriate, to lawsuits, 
economic boycotts, and public campaigns or 
demonstrations. Organized pressure may pro- 
perly be directed against any media organization 
or institution that fails to live up to fair and 
reasonable standards — from schools of film and 
journalism to national television and radio net- 
works, from cable television multiple-system 
owners to the local operating unit, from radio 
and television stations to local newspapers and 
national chains, from advertisers and rating 
services to production studios, unions, and 
talent agencies. Consideration should also be 
given to bringing writs of mandamus against 
government agencies, such as the FCC, to com- 



pel them to act in accord with their statutory 
obligations. 

CONFERENCE PARTICIPANTS 

Lois Btinkhorn, assistant managing editor, The 

Milwaukee Journal, Milwaukee 
Nolan A. Bowie, fellow, Aspen Institute, New 

York City 
Toey Caldwell, member. Board of Directors and 

chair, EEOC, Screen Actors Guild, Hollywood 
Ellis Cose, president, Institute for Journalism 

Education, University of California, Berkeley 
Belva Davis, vice president, American Federation 

of Television and Radio Artists, San Francisco 
Dwight Ellis, vice president, Minority and Special 

Services, National Association of Broadcasters, 

Washington, DC 
Paula Ciddings, author, New York City 
Dorothy Gilliam, columnist, Washington Post, 

Washington, DC 
Robert L. Core, Jr. , president, Bob Gore & Associ- 
ates, Brooklyn 
Jack Creenberg, professor, Columbia University 

Law School, New York City 
Shirlee Taylor Haizlip, director corporate affairs, 

special asst. to the pres. and corp. secretary, 

WNET/Thirteen, New York City 
Donald A. Henriksen, vice president, Government 

Relations, Atlantic Richfield Company, Los 

Angeles 
Nat Hentoff, staff writer, The Village Voice, New 

York City 
Betty e King Hoffman, vice president, Program 

Information Resources, National Broadcasting 

Company, Inc., New York City 
Robert L. Johnson, president, Black Entertain- 
ment Television, Washington, DC 
Pluria Marshall, chairman, National Black Media 

Coalition, Washington, DC 
Robert B. McKay, senior fellow, Aspen Institute, 

New York City 
Rodney Mitchell, affirmative action administrator, 

Screen Actors Guild, Hollywood 
George E. Moynihan, senior vice president, TV Sta- 
tion Group, Westinghouse Broadcasting & 

Cable, Inc., New York City 
Michael J. O'Neill, former editor, New York Daily- 
News, Scarsdale 
Everett C. Parker, senior research fellow, Fordham 

University, White Plains 
David Ramage, executive director, New World Foun- 
dation, New York City 
Ronald Reosti, partner, Reosti & Associates, P.C., 

Detroit 
Michael Rice, senior fellow, Aspen Institute, and 

President, Michael Rice Media, Inc., New York 

City 
Herbert I. Schiller, professor, Department of 

Communications, University of California, San 

Diego, La Jolla 
Howard Simons, curator, Neiman Foundation, 

Cambridge 
Kenneth Walker, ABC News, Washington, DC 
John Weidman, freelance writer, New York City 
Ron Yerxa, vice president, production, CBS 

Theatrical Films, Studio City 

Nolan A. Bowie, a telecommunications at- 
torney, policy analyst, and painter, is a Fellow at 
the Aspen Institute Program on Communica- 
tions and Society. 



£ Nolan A. Bowie 1985 



MAY 1985 






Douglas Smith 



There has been a lot of discussion lately about 
the advent of stereo sound for television and 
theatrical film releases. What is stereo and what 
are some of the practical and aesthetic considera- 
tions in recording, editing, and mixing it? This 
article will review the preparation for a Dolby 
stereo mix of a theatrical release feature-length 
documentary, Stripper, and outline some of the 
problems, choices, and costs facing an indepen- 
dent producer should he or she decide to release 
a film in stereo. 

Stripper was not a low-budget documentary. 
[For an analysis of stereo sound for low-budget 
documentaries, see John Bishop, "Sweet Stereo 
Sounds," The Independent, May 1984.] In fact, 
it used the best available technology to arrive at a 
"big picture" look and sound. Conceived as a 
35 mm theatrical release, it was shot in Super- 
16mm for the sake of flexibility, and its Nagra- 
recorded sound was transferred to 16mm stock. 
Only the final cut would be blown up to 35mm. 
Though technically a documentary, Stripper's 
producers realized that its marketability depend- 
ed partly on the film's sound quality. Since many 
scenes are performance sequences, with music a 
salient aspect of the structure, a best-quality 
Dolby stereo mix was decided upon. 

What is stereo and what is Dolby? Simply 
stated, stereo is the recreation of the ear's percep- 
tion of three-dimensional space by using two 
sound tracks. In film, this means the recreation 
of a sound perspective to match or strengthen 
the illusion of three-dimensional space on 
MAY 1985 



screen. Dolby, when referring to a Dolby stereo 
mix, does not mean the noise reduction system 
familiar to record owners or sound transfer peo- 
ple. A Dolby mix records four channels accord- 
ing to speaker assignment (left, center, right, and 
surround speakers), then encodes them for a 
two- track optical release print which, when pro- 
jected in a theater, is then decoded back to the 
four-channel speaker assignments. The upshot: 
a sound system created specifically for movie 
theater audiences that goes beyond the usual 
two-channel systems, literally enveloping an au- 
dience and recreating the illusion of three- 
dimensional space to match the images on 
screen. 

Stereo film sound is achieved through mixing 
various elements, some of which are best re- 
corded in mono and some in stereo. The location 
recordist often has to make a decision on the 
spot as to the most effective method of record- 
ing. As Andy Aaron, who recorded sound ef- 
fects for Stripper and to whom I am indebted for 
most of this discussion on recording, explains, 
sounds can generally be classified into two types. 
Point source sounds, such as a door closing, 
hammer hitting, clock ticking, or individual per- 
son speaking, should usually be recorded in 
mono. At the mix, the mixer can then assign a 
specific speaker position (or pan from one to 
another) that will convey the placement of that 
point on the screen. Multi-source sounds, such 
as lobby atmospheres, forest presences, car in- 
teriors, or crowds, should be recorded in stereo 
so as to fully capture the spatial dimensions of 
the scene. As there are many sources of the 
sound, each ear would receive different informa- 



tion; stereo recording reproduces this texture. 
Some mixes try to reproduce spatial dimension 
by using two mono recordings of an atmosphere, 
so that each ear hears something subtly different. 
This "fake" stereo can work, but in no way does 
it catch the full vibrancy and dimensionality of a 
scene originally recorded in stereo. 

The techniques of stereo recording for films 
vary, but there is one general rule usually fol- 
lowed: co-incident microphone placement. Two 
mics, one for each channel, are placed within 
one inch and at 90 degrees from each other. The 
angle difference recreates a perspective shift in 
sound similar to that heard by two ears. The 
proximity of the two mics combats phrasing and 
ensures mono-compatibility. All stereo sounds 
must be able to be played in mono without dis- 
tortions due to frequencies canceling each other. 
If two mics are several feet apart, various fre- 
quencies may be boosted or reduced and the 
mono version will be distorted — for example, a 
deep, bassy sound may suddenly become very 
thin. Phasing is not heard by the location record- 
ist listening through his stereo headphones; the 
co-incident miking technique ensures a proper 
recording capturing full spatial dimensions while 
retaining mono-compatibility. 

Other kinds of two-track recordings may be 
brought back from the field on a stereo Nagra, 
but shouldn't be confused with stereo. For ex- 
ample, in the Stripper performance sequences, 
one mic was placed near speakers to get a good 
music recording while another was placed in the 
crowd to get clear crowd reactions. This type of 
recording is very useful in getting the cleanest re- 
cording of whatever type of sound you're going 
THE INDEPENDENT 21 




for, but does not capture the spatial dimensions 
of the area on screen (it may capture a very dif- 
ferent feeling dimension), and thus is not true 
stereo. Another example is simply the use of each 
track to record a specific voice as two people 
converse. The sound recordist here is attempting 
to get the cleanest sound possible for each of his 
mics, not attempting to get stereo. In these situa- 
tions, on Stripper, each channel was transferred 
to a separate 16mm mono track, and whichever 
sound was best for the picture was selected. As 
most of the sound was recorded either in mono 
or two-track mono, stereo was never an issue 
during the picture editing. The V* " tapes of ef- 
fects and ambiences recorded in stereo were 
catalogued and set aside for the sound editing. 

Once the final editing of the picture was close 
to satisfaction, Bemie Hajdenberg was contracted 
to organize and supervise the sound completion 
through the final mix, with Dick Goldberg and I 
working as sound editors under his supervision. 
Since extensive picture recutting and tinkering 
was expected during the sound editing, a 
systematic approach had to be designed to ac- 
commodate many changes. 

There were three practical alternatives for 
organizing the sound editing: 

1) Cut in 16mm stereo tracks. The problem 
with this is the limited number of two-track 
16mm heads available, especially on dubbers at 
mixing studios, although with the increasing de- 
mand for stereo, this situation is changing. 
(Sound One, a New York mixing studio, now 
has four 16mm stereo dubbers available.) 

2) Cut in 16mm mono, then use a synchro- 
nizer to lay in the 35mm stereo fullcoat that was 
match-coded to the 16mm. The advantage to 
this was that we could continue using 16mm 
equipment (except for splicer and synchronizer 
22 THE INDEPENDENT 



rental). The great disadvantage: this is excessive- 
ly cumbersome, particularly if extensive recut- 
ting is foreseen. 

3) Cut in stereo 35mm fullcoat, with left and 
right stereo channels and a mix track channel. 
This was the alternative we chose, for several 
reasons. Multi-channel heads in 35mm are readi- 
ly available in mixing studios, alleviating prob- 
lems of track limitation. More important, it saved 
a work step while retaining all the qualitative ad- 
vantages of editing sound in 35mm. Since many 
changes in the music necessitating picture recuts 
were foreseen, this system offered the maximum 
amount of flexibility. 

We rented a 16/35mm Steenbeck (not too com- 
mon, but they're there) and cut our 35mm track 
directly against the 16mm picture. As we had no 
multi-track head (difficult to come by on Steen- 
becks, less so on KEMs and Moviolas), we could 
only listen to our third (A plus B mix) track, which 
was usually sufficient. Before the mix, though, I 
listened to make sure perspectives remained con- 
stant — sure enough, I discovered mistakes that I 
couldn't perceive on the Steenbeck's single mono 
head. 

Before beginning to edit the sound effects, we 
carefully planned which sounds needed to be in 
stereo and which in mono. The mono sound ef- 
fects were handled in 16mm, just as the dialogue 
had been; only stereo sounds were cut in 35mm. 
The added perception of depth in a stereo scene 
necessitates its own aesthetic considerations. 
Hajdenberg opted to use stereo selectively, to 
reinforce the impact of certain scenes. For exam- 
ple, Stripper opens with a black-and-white 
photo montage of the early days of burlesque; as 
the music increases in tempo, the film suddenly 
bursts into full color and motion. To strengthen 
this visual explosion, mono effects were laid in 



prior to the color scene; then, suddenly, stereo 
comes in. The first color shot is, simply, a bar on 
a street, but the passage of a car passing from 
right to left on screen is underscored by the 
sound literally travelling from right to left 
speaker. 

There are two ways to prepare for this effect. 
One method is simply to lay in a car-by that has 
been recorded in stereo, the mic configuration 
capturing the sense of the car travelling through a 
three-dimensional space. Another, and in some 
ways simpler, way — if many car-bys are to be used 
in the scene — is to use a mono car-by and have the 
mixer pan, or assign the sound first to one 
speaker, then to another (if recorded in stereo, the 
pan is inherent in the two tracks, though it can be 
boosted or diminished). Behind this mono effect, 
an atmosphere (in this case, a city street presence) 
recorded in stereo must be placed on the track so 
that a fully dimensional space is felt. 

In the Stripper opening, a motorcycle gang 
zooms past, not from left to right but from behind 
the camera into the frame, and then races into the 
distance. To give this scene maximum punch, we 
placed three separate motocycle gang-bys (two 
with similar group sounds, one with a more 
specific individual motorcycle sound) on 16mm 
mono tracks. Individually, these tracks were 
simply motorcycle-bys with the sound peaking 
when the bikes were nearest to the camera, but 
with no strong spatiality. To achieve the proper 
perspective, the sound was assigned at the mix 
first to the surround speakers, then to the left and 
right speakers, and finally to the center, so that, in 
the final mix, the sound literally travels from 
behind the audience towards the center. Talk 
about grabbing the audience's attention! 

Thrills aside, the dominant aesthetic principle 
in using stereo in Stripper was not to make people 

MAY 1985 



* 






#1 




aware of directionality on screen, but to more 
subtly create full, vibrant spaces. This was par- 
ticularly true of the many performance sequences 
in which a full nightclub atmosphere was created 
by laying in presences and applause that had 
orginally been recorded in stereo. Particular care 
was spent on the introduction of stereo sounds to 
ensure that they would not pop in and call atten- 
tion to themselves (except for a few instances 
when maximum punch was required). The sound 
supervisor and mixer worked together to achieve 
the appropriate interweaving of sounds and 
spatial dimensions. 

As music plays a paramount role in Stripper (a 
record will probably be released concurrently with 
the film), particular attention was paid to the 
music editing. The picture was cut against 16mm 
mono scratch transfers from location recordings 
or records. In almost every case the original music 
was finally replaced by a different piece that was 
either specifically composed for the sequence or 
that was simply felt to work better (or, sometimes, 
because rights were unavailable). Since music 
changes often entailed picture changes, music 
transfers were done in 16 and 35mm, allowing the 
editors to recut their pictures to the 16mm track 
and, only when everything was complete, laying in 
the fresh match-coded 35mm stereo track. While 
the picture editors cut the performance music, a 
music editor, Scott Grusen, was hired to lay in the 
scored music and make any little adjustments in 
the 35mm final music track. Grusen used an 
upright Moviola with a 16mm picture head and a 
three-track sound head, enabling him to deal with 
each individual track of 35mm fullcoat. He thus 
had the best possible element (multi-track 35mm), 
while costs were kept to a minimum by waiting to 
switch to this mode at the end of picture editing. 

The constant interchange between 16 and 

MAY 1985 



35mm may seem a bit confusing, but the system is 
actually fairly simple. Furthermore, it is not much 
more expensive than cutting entirely in 16mm, 
and much cheaper than editing entirely in 35mm. 
The qualitative gains inherent in the use of 35mm 
are worth the extra transfer costs, especially since 
only final music pieces are laid. To keep transfer 
costs down, used fullcoat mag stock was bought 
and degaussed for FX transfers (but beware of old 
splices: some are audible). As mag quality is most 
critical for music, music transfers were done en- 
tirely on new stock. 

Elements brought to the mix consisted of 
16mm dialogue and FX tracks, and 35mm FX, 
music, and Foley fullcoats. Each of the 35mm 
elements had multi-tracks, so the cue sheets 
reflected many tracks with a limited number of 
elements. Although much of this discussion of 
sound editing has focused on 35mm tracks, it 
should be emphasized that most of the sound 
editing, including most specific effects (as 
distinguished from atmospheres) were laid in 
16mm. Only with stereo was 35mm stock used, 
resulting in significant savings. 

The importance of the mix, and the mixer's 
competence, cannot be overemphasized. When 
preparing for a mix the producer or sound editor 
must find out the particular studio's capabilities. 
Independent producers should also be aware that 
a Dolby stereo mix has an inherent cost increase 
due to a two-stage mixing process. A normal 
mono mix entails mixing from two to 20 (or more) 
edited tracks down to three or four tracks on a 
single 35mm fullcoat master. The three final 
tracks are usually dialogue, music and FX; the 
fourth is for narration (or anything else you 
choose). Thus, even after the mix, discrete sounds 
are available should recutting occur (or should a 
music and FX track be needed for international 



distribution). In a Dolby stereo mix, discrete 
sounds are no longer available as, for example, 
music and dialogue are mixed into the left speaker 
together. 

To ensure maximum flexibility and allow us to 
make last minute changes, Lee Dichter, our mix- 
er, proposed a stem mix. Instead of mixing to a 
single four-track master, with each track 
representing a speaker assignment, he mixed each 
category of sound (dialogue, music, and FX) to its 
own separate four-track speaker-assigned master. 
Thus all elements remained discrete, yet were 
speaker-assigned to what had become, essentially, 
a 12-track master. (Dichter kept the master on 
three 35mm fullcoats instead of one multi-track 
tape because the sprockets on the 35mm fullcoat 
allowed any recuts to exactly match picture 
recuts.) 

The preparation for a Dolby stereo mix is not 
particularly complicated. For the sound editor, a 
careful planning of stereo ambiences is required. 
For the producer, an understanding of the addi- 
tional complexity and costs (and how these can 
best be restrained) is necessary. But if, while 
preparing for the mix, the stereo sound doesn't 
seem worth the additional trouble, simply select 
any stereo ambience, such as a forest bird 
presence, and put on a pair of stereo head- 
phones. The intense feeling of being in a physical 
forest glade will remind you of what you're after. 



Douglas Smith is a freelance film editor for both 
narratives and documentaries whose credits in- 
clude Journey to the Heart of China, Eugene's 
Valet, and Le Fil d'Ariane. 



©Douglas W. Smith 1985 



THE INDEPENDENT 23 



FESTIVALS 



-XESTcen? 




^wgBg** 1 




The Hawaii test's scholarly bent and down-to-earth quality make it a welcome respite from 
the usual festival glitz. 



HONOLULU: HAWAIIAN EYE 



With the East- West Center its major sponsor 
and source of funding, the annual Hawaii Inter- 
national Film Festival is characterized by a de- 
cidedly humanistic perspective. This, and the 
fact that it may be the only international festival 
to be organized by an academic institution, 
make the HIFF unique. Last year, its theme was 
"When Strangers Meet," which expressed the 
festival planners' aim that the festival should be a 
learning experience, that it reflect the East- West 
interaction, and that the films allow the viewers a 
glimpse of other cultures as those cultures see 
themselves. 

In addition to the free screenings, the festival 
offers a grab bag of symposia, workshops, and 
discussions with a keenly interested and knowl- 
edgeable audience. Last year's symposia leaned 
towards both the relatively arcane (Indian film 
music) to more mainstream concerns, such as 
women in film. Das Gupta Chitananda, an In- 
dian film critic and 1984 festival juror, explained 
that bigger festivals like Cannes "are more con- 
cerned with new aesthetic perspectives. At this 
festival, the film selections are more purposive: 
they're more interested in the culture behind the 
film." In a word, the HIFF is a highly par- 
ticipatory one, where filmmakers are encour- 
24 THE INDEPENDENT 



aged to interact with one another, with au- 
diences, and with critics and academics. 

The workshops were practice-oriented. John 
Sayles, whose The Brother from Another Planet 
was screened, conducted one on screenwruing, 
while Carroll Ballard, director of Never Cry 
Wolf (also screened), spoke on how to make 
your own movie within the studio system. (Never 
Cry Wolf was the first independent film that 
Walt Disney Productions financed and 
marketed over which it had no creative control.) 

The HIFF is not an outlet for television and 
distribution/buyer deals. There are no formal 
marketing sections. Loni Ding, a San Francisco- 
based filmmaker whose Nisei Soldier: Standard 
Bearer of an Exiled People was invited to the fes- 
tival, said she thinks the HIFF should consider 
such independent needs as marketing and distri- 
bution, although she said she "met a number of 
people, like author and screenwriter Jeanne 
Houston (Farewell to Manzanar), at the festival. 
We may work on something together." 

According to Ding, who had been invited 
months before the festival, the festival "took 
care of everything" from round-trip plane fare 
to hotel accommodations — although this wasn't 
the case with last-minute attendees like Mark 



Schwartz and Geoffrey Dunn, whose Dollar a 
Day, Ten Cents a Dance was screened. Festival 
chair Jeannette Paulson explained, "We could 
only afford to pay for 30 people, and that includ- 
ed film critics, speakers, and jurors as well as 
filmmakers." She's not sure how many par- 
ticipants the HIFF can pay for in 1985, but there 
are numerous tour and charter packages, espec- 
ially from the West Coast, that are quite 
reasonable. 

Honolulu papers and various community or- 
gans cover the festival films and events quite ex- 
tensively. And attendance has grown to 30,000 in 
the span of four years. But it is perhaps the 
easygoing informality, and the prospects of net- 
working that, for filmmakers, are the most ap- 
pealing aspects of the festival. Those I spoke to 
found the absence of glitter and hype — staples at 
many festivals — and the corresponding em- 
phasis on films and discussions a welcome 
change. Because the East- West Center is located 
on the Honolulu campus of the University of 
Hawaii, there are numerous classrooms and 
seminar rooms available for filmmakers to re- 
screen their films to smaller groups, or just to get 
together to talk. For instance, Filipino film- 
maker Kidlat Tahimik (Perfumed Nightmare) 
showed long rushes of his next work-in-progress 
to a group of interested people in order to solicit 
both feedback and financial support. 

This noncommercial festival is also noncom- 
petitive, with the exception of the East- West 
Award, given to the film the jurors think "best 
promotes understanding between the peoples of 
Asia, the Pacific and the United States by pro- 
viding insights which deepen our appreciation of 
another culture." Last year, Wu Tian-Ming's 
River Without Buoys (People's Republic of 
China) won; the other contenders were Sayles's 
The Brother from Another Planet, Allen Fong's 
Ah Ting (Hong Kong), and Mrinal Sen's The 
Case Is Closed (India) . —Luis H Francia 

This year's festival will be held on the island of 
Maui from Nov. 26-30, then in Honolulu from 
Dec. 1-7. 16mm, V* "and 'A " cassettes accepted 
for screening. Include film's running time, 
category (feature, documentary, short), synop- 
sis, return address, and date by which film must 
be returned. Festival pays return postage; no en- 
try fee. Deadline: June 1. Send submissions to: 
Jeannette Paulson, Chair, Hawaii International 
Film Festival, East- West Center, 1 777 East- West 
Road, Honolulu, HI 96848. 

Luis H. Francia is a poet, freelance writer, and 
film editor of Bridge magazine. 



I Luis H. Francia 1985 



MAY 1985 



TELLURIDE: 
DISCREET CHARMS 



"Small is beautiful" could describe Telluride, a 
gathering of independent and foreign film- 
makers, art house owners, and an elite audience 
which pays upward of $200 for the privilege of 
rubbing elbows, or perhaps picking up a softball 
game, with the likes of Bertrand Tavernier, 
Werner Herzog, Wim Wenders, Andrei Tarkov- 
sky, or Stan Brakhage in the Colorado Rockies. 

This is not to say that a young, unknown film- 
maker has no chance of being screened at this 
Labor Day festival. Stella Pense, Telluride's co- 
director, with her husband Bill, since its incep- 
tion 12 years ago, told The Independent to "urge 
people to send us films. We screen everything." 
But the figures are more sobering. Pense esti- 
mates that she received 50 to 75 unsolicited sub- 
missions, mostly shorts, from the U.S. last year; 
six to 10 were accepted for screening. Standards 
are high: "Other festivals are more inclusive or 
liberal. We have a very high-tech audience. We 
put great stock on the professionalism of a 
film." Among the films Telluride has screened 
are Wajda's A Love in Germany, Herzog's 
Fitzcarraldo, Makaveyev's Montenegro, and 
Malle's My Dinner with Andre. Last year, U.S. 
independent works included Stranger than 
Paradise, The Times of Harvey Milk, America 
and Lewis Hine, and Go Tell It on the Mountain. 

For features, which make up the bulk of the 50 
films exhibited, Pense says she calls "known 
filmmakers" and receives calls from program- 
mers and others with informed suggestions. 
Cannes is the only festival the Penses attend. 
Because Telluride serves as the annual meeting- 
place for the loosely-knit Association of 
Specialized Film Exhibitors, and has a good 
reputation for attracting distributors on vaca- 
tion, films do get bought and selected for other 
festivals, although there is no organized market. 

"A film has to be virgin," Pense says — it can't 
have appeared in other festivals, or been shown 
on TV, or theatrically released. The press is not 
encouraged to review the films shown, and there 
are no prizes, so films can still go on to other 
festivals — including those that only show 
premieres, like the New York Film Festival — and 
be marketed without a predetermined image. 
(Stranger than Paradise, The Times of Harvey 
Milk, and America and Lewis Hine all went on 
to the New York Film Festival in 1984, as have 
many of the foreign films Telluride has shown.) 
In short, a film can be helped by good word-of- 
mouth from the heavies who attend, but can't be 
hurt by bad press. 

The festival pays rental fees only on "very rare 
occasions," such as the Robert Breer retrospec- 
tive last year. Telluride's budget for travel and 
expenses, and the number of tickets it hands out 
to filmmakers, is limited. There are people who 
are willing to pay for your seat: the whole pro- 
MAY1985 



gram sells out before the films are even an- 
nounced. 

If you have something you think the Penses 
will like, write or call with particulars. They 
screen all summer in New Hampshire. 

— Robert A aronson 

Festival dates: Aug. 30-Sept. 2. Contact: PO 
Box BU56, Hanover, NH 03755; (603) 
643-1255. Festival address: 119 West Colorado 
Ave., Telluride, CO 81345; (303) 728-4401. 

IN BRIEF 

This month's festivals have been 
compiled by Robert Aaronson. 
Listings do not constitute an en- 
dorsement, and since some details 
change faster than we do, we rec- 
ommend that you contact the fes- 
tival for further information before 
sending prints or tapes. If your ex- 
perience differs from our account 
please let us know so we can im- 
prove our reliability. 



DOMESTIC 



• CINDY COMPETITION, Los Angeles, Nov. 23. 
Sponsored by the Association of Visual Com- 
municators (formerly the IFPA), this event received 
about 1 ,000 submissions last year for 200 plaques in 
17 categories including education, industrial, public 
service, training, sales, etc. The student category in- 
cludes drama & last year there was a music video slot. 
Fees: $60- $90. Formats: 16mm, % ", slide shows, 
35mm filmstrips & videodiscs. Contact: Michael 
Nilan, 900 Palm Ave., Suite B, South Pasadena, CA 
91030; (818) 441-2274. 

• DENVER INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTI- 
VAL, Colorado, Oct. 16-20. This invitational event 
screens about 60 films for audiences up to 20,000. 




When John Antonelli moved down the street 
from two ex-Beats, he was duly inspired to 
shoot "Kerouac," recently screened at the 
Denver International Film Festival. 



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Denver Film Society director Ron Henderson leads a 
selection committee of 6 local film people. According 
to Diane Gutwillig of Tony Silver Films, which pro- 
duced Style Wars (shown in the children's section), 
Denver was a "good experience" which lead to rent- 
als in the area. The festival, budgeted at $250,000 
hosted the world premiere of The Razor's Edge and a 
"special premiere" of Stop Making Sense, which in- 
cluded an evening with Jonathan Demme. In the 
New American Cinema Section, three films were fea- 
tured: Joel & Ethan Coen's Blood Simple, John Han- 
son & Sandra Schulberg's Wildrose, & Thomas 
Cohen's Massive Retaliation. All three directors at- 
tended the festival, as did Jackie Ochs & Robert 
Mugge, whose Secret Agent & Coot Running: The 
Reggae Movie, plus Gospel According Al Green were 
screened in the documentary section respectively. 
The remaining films were an eclectic mix of foreign 
films & retrospectives. Each film is usually preceded 
by a short up to 20 minutes. According to Hender- 
son, the festival likes to get a film before it's picked 
up by a distributor, because they can usually make a 
better deal with the filmmaker directly. No fees, no 
forms, no prizes. To enter, send a letter with a print, 
or call. Deadline: June- Sept. Format: 16 & 35mm, 
but will preview on V* ", VHS & Beta. Contact: 609 
E. Speer Blvd., PO Box 17508, Denver, CO 80217; 
(303)744-1031. 

• ISTERCOM, Chicago, Sept. 11. Produced by 
Michael Kutza, director of the Chicago Film Festival, 
this 21 -year-old event is perhaps the largest informa- 
tional festival in the country. Submissions invited in 
over 60 categories for industrial & government films, 
educational institutions, corporate communications 
& public information. } A " & VHS, 70, 35, 16mm, & 
filmstrips eligible. Deadline: May 30. Contact: Inter- 
com, 415 N. Dearborn St., Chicago, IL 60610; (312) 
644-3400. 

• MARIN COUNTY NATIONAL FILM & VIDEO 
COMPETITION, California, July 3-7. Cash prizes 
of SI ,000, S900, & S800 in independent, animation & 
student categories respectively. Works must be 
suitable for children. Winning works screened at the 
Marin County Fair & Exposition, which attracts 
70,000. Max. running time: 30 min. Separate juries 
of producers, critics & writers for each format. Direc- 
tor: Ron Levaco, professor, San Francisco State, 
lfimm & V* " eligible. Fee: $10. Deadline: May 31. 
Contact: Yolanda F. Sullivan, Marin County Fair & 
Expo, Fairgrounds, San Rafael, CA 94903; (415) 
499-6400. 

• NATIONAL VIDEO FESTIVAL <& STUDENT 
COMPETITION/EXHIBITION, Los Angeles, 
Sept. 19-22. For the 5th year, video artists & media 
professionals will gather at the American Film In- 
stitute for four days of exhibitions & discussions. The 
festival is one of the most comprehensively-curated 
programs of its kind. Hundreds of tapes were shown 
in 1984 under the headings of Television: Cultural 
Form; Ways of Seeing: Points of View; From the 
Narrative: Screening; Image& Sound: Collaboration 
(see "The Problems of Pluralism: AF1 Video 
Festival," The Independent, Jan. /Feb. 1985). Stu- 
dent competition is "open to students enrolled in a 
post-secondary - educational institution for at least 1 
term during the 1984/5 academic year." Awards, in- 
cluding Vi " editing equipment, go to regional & na- 
tional winners. As part of the expanded student pro- 
gram in 1985, a guest curator will design an exhibi- 
tion "representative of the kinds of work students are 
doing: new trends, concerns & politics," according to 
festival director Jackie Kain. "We want to get 
beyond the best," she explained, "and present an 
overview." In addition to being eligible for prizes, 
students whose work is selected will receive a $50 
honorarium & screening fee of $1 per minute. Fee: 



26 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1985 



$5. Max. running time: 60 min. Format: V* ". Tape 
deadline: May 24. The deadline for forms has passed, 
so contact immediately: Connie Conrow, NVF, Box 
27999, 2021 North Western Ave., Los Angeles, CA 
90027; (213) 856-7743. Forms available at AIVF 
(send SASE). 

• NEW JERSEY VIDEO & FILM CELEBRA- 
TION OF ACCESS TELEVISION, Essex Com- 
munity College, June 15. Limited to NJ cable access 
productions. Categories include municipal, educa- 
tional, public access & "produced at an access 
center." Last year the event received 100 entries and 
awarded 17 prizes. Coordinator Tami Gold of the 
sponsoring organization Newark Mediaworks called 
the evening awards ceremony "a real media event," 
with work shown to a full house of 200 on 20 
monitors suspended from the ceiling. V* " & VHS on- 
ly. Deadline: late May. Contact: Newark 
Mediaworks, PB Box 1019, Newark, NJ 07101; (201) 
690-5474. 

• NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL, Sept. 27-Oct. 
13. 23 features were screened at the 22nd NYFF last 
year; 7 were U.S. productions. According to pro- 
grammer Jack Barth, only 5- 10% of unsolicited 
features are accepted for exhibition, with shorts hav- 
ing a better chance. The staff of the Lincoln Center 
Film Society is well known for its comprehensive 
grasp of the international film scene. This year, 
Chicago film critic Dave Kehr joins the selection 
committee. Among last year's independent features 
were Nina Rosenblum's America & Lewis Hine, 
Diego Echeverria's Los Sures, Robert Epstein & 
Richard Schmiechen's The Times of Harvey Milk, 
Ethan & Joel Coen's Blood Simple, Victor Nunez's A 
Flash of Green, and Jim Jarmusch's Stranger than 
Paradise. All films screened received coverage in the 
New York Times & are practically assured New York 
theatrical release. AIVF executive director Lawrence 
Sapadin serves as advisor on American independent 
films. No fee. Maker pays RT shipping. Format: 16 
& 35mm. Deadline: films on cassette over 31 mins.: 
June 17; 16 & 35mm films over 31 minutes & shorts 
under 30 mins., any format: July 1. Contact: Jack 
Barth, New York Film Festival, Film Society of Lin- 
coln Center, 140 W. 65th St., NY, NY 10023; (212) 
877-1800. 

• NEW YORK, NEW YORK ALL MEDIA IN- 
TERNA TIONAL JURIED ART COMPETITION, 
July/ August. First annual event for work in 16 art 
forms, including V* " & VHS videotapes. Screenings 
planned at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney 
Museum & elsewhere. Makers asked to deposit work 
permanently with the competition's archive. Fee: 
$10-$35. Contact: Yaffa Berel, International Juried 
Art Competition, Box 584, Bronxville, NY 10708; 
(914) 835-4484, 939-1 177, or 668-2572. 

• PUBLIC RELATIONS FILM/VIDEO 
FESTIVAL, New York, October. Sponsored by the 
Public Relations Society of America, this 16th 
showcase is for in-house and sponsored productions 
in 8 categories, including corporate/institutional 
identity, community relations, public education & 
product exposure. Work must have been completed 
Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 1984. Fees: $125-$150. Format: 
16mm & Vt". Deadline: July 1. Contact: Marilyn 
Gamblin, PRSA, 845 Third Ave., NY, NY 10022; 
(212) 826-1750. 

• SAN ANTONIO CINEFESTIVAL, Texas, Aug. 
16-23. Films & videotapes submitted to this event 
must directly refer to the Hispanic community. 
Beyond that, if the work is not pornographic or ex- 
ploitative, it will be exhibited. According to festival 
director Eduardo Diaz, "The whole purpose of the 
festival is for people to have their stuff seen." Out of 
the 50 works shown in '84 at the 410-seat Guadalupe 
theater, Diaz invited 20 from the international com- 

M AY 1985 



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munity , including 8 as part of a special series on Mex- 
ican independent cinema. Other screenings included 
PLxole, Alsino y el Condor, Alambrista, When the 
Mountains Tremble, El Norte, Blood Wedding, & 
The Last Supper, Aqui Se Lo Halla, Children of 
Violence, the WGBH series Heat Wave, & Guazapa. 
Videos & short films are shown during day & early 
evening & invited films are screened at night. Final 
program includes distribution information. Says 
Diaz, "We're trying to create an environment in 
which to discuss issues, problems, techniques." Fee: 
$15. Deadline: July 12. Format: V* ", 16 & 35mm. 
contact: Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, 1300 
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FOREIGN 



• BESANCON INTERNA TIONAL MUSIC AND 
CHOREOGRAPHIC FILM FESITVAL, France. 
Sept. 15-24. "Any film that successfully joins a pic- 
ture & good music" is eligible, according to the entry 
form. 13th year. Makers pay shipping both ways. 
Format: 35 & 16mm or "video cassettes identical to 
the original version." Features & shorts eligible. 
Deadline: forms, June 1; films: Sept. 15. Contact: 
Festival du Film Musical, 2d rue Isenbart, 25090 
Besancon, France; tel. (81) 80.73.26; telex 360 242 
Essi-Besan. 

• CANADIAN INTERNA TIONAL ANIMA TION 
FESTIVAL, Toronto, August. Over 600 films from 
40 countries were entered in last year's 5th annual in- 
ternational showcase, held previously in Ottawa. The 
jury of 5, which included U.S. animator Jane Aaron, 
selected 96 for competition. The festival, while 
known for exhibiting new technology, encourages 
non-commercial work & celebrates animation. Pan- 
els & a market make this a meeting place for film- 
makers. 40% of those with work in competititon at- 
tended. Prizewinners represented 7 countries, from 
Canada to China, with U.S. animator Michael 
Sporn's Dr. DeSoto garnering best film for children. 
The festival budget weighs in at a hefty $350,000 & 
the event runs five days. Format: 16 & 35mm, V* " 
video. No max. running time; though most films 
screened are under 30 mins. Features may be screened 
if world premieres. Deadline: forms: late May; films: 
mid-June. No fee. Contact: Box 5009 Station F, 
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4Y2TI; tel. (416) 
364-5924/8024; telex 0623499 AMFESTTOR. 

• EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL FILM 
FESTIVAL, Scotland, Aug. 10-25. Now in its 39th 

year, the film event is part of a much larger arts 
celebration. Approximately 15,000 people attended 
the films alone in 1984. U.S. independents included 
Charles Burnett's My Brother's Wedding, Jim Jar- 
musch's Stranger than Paradise, Don Lenzer's Dum- 
my Love in the Atomic Age, Billy Woodberry's Bless 
Their Little Hearts, Roberta Cantow 's If This Ain 't 
Heaven, Jill Godmilow's Far From Poland, Dina & 
Marisa Silver's Old Enough, Ken Kimmelman's 
Reaganocchio & Carol Dysinger's Unicorn. Director 
Jim Hickey travels worldwide to invite films. Not a 
lot of business, but an enjoyable opportunity to have 
your film screened for an appreciative audience. Fee: 
10 English pounds. Format: 16 & 35mm. Fest may 
pay for portion of travel & accommodations. 
Deadline: forms: May 13; films: June 13. Contact: 
Filmhouse, 88 Lothian Rd., Edinburgh, EH3 9BZ 
Scotland, UK; tel. 031 228 6382; telex 72165. 

• GUILDE EUROPEENE DU RAID, France. This 
organization sponsors 2 film festivals every year. 
First is the International Forum on Sport Film held in 
Montpelier. Last year's invitees included Craig 
Davidson's There Was Always Sun Shining 



28 THE INDEPENDENT 



Someplace & Francis Freeland's The First Interna- 
tional Hang Gliding Competition at Pico. Fest is in- 
terested in feature narratives & documentaries as well 
as shorts, TV productions, commercials & other 
sports-related productions. The 2nd festival is the In- 
ternational Film Festival of Real Life Adventure. For 
the 9th year this event will take place at the "famous 
ski resort" of La Plagne. Fest wants "films about any 
kind of adventure, such as mountain expeditions, 
Arctic travel, sailing races around the world, 
ballooninig, underwater diving, scientific explora- 
tions & any kind of outstanding performances." 
Dates: Sport Film: Sept. 26-29; Real Life: Dec. 
12-15. Deadline for Montpelier: now-June 30; La 
Plagne: now-Nov. 12. Vt " preferred for preview. 
Address: Guilde Europeene du Raid, 11 rue de 
Vaugirard, 75006 Paris, France: Attn: Sylvie Barbe, 
tel (1)326 9752. 

• INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENT FILM & 
VIDEO FESTIVAL, France, September. Open to 
"films on knowledge of nature, attacks on nature, 
protection of nature, alerting people to environmen- 
tal problems." Film & video completed within last 18 
months eligible. Max. running time: 60 min. format: 
16 & 35mm, V. ". No fee. Contact: RIENA, 27 ruede 
L'Echiquier, 75010 Paris, France; tel. (1) 523 3146; 
telex 643744 F. 

• IN TER NA TION A L FESTIVAL FOR 
CHILDREN & YOUNG PEOPLE, Italy, 
July/ August. Categories include: films for children 6 
to 12; teenagers; juvenile problems. Fiction, anima- 
tion, documentary & experimental in any length pro- 
duced within the last two years. Deadline; forms: late 
May; films: July. Format: 16mm & 35mm only. No 
fee. Contact: Festival Internazionale del Cinema per i 
Ragazzi e per le Gioventu, 84095 Giffoni Valle Piana, 
Salerno, Italy; tel. (089) 86 8544. 

• INTERNA TIONAL FESTIVAL OF ECONOMIC 
& TRAINING FILMS, Brussels, November. Open to 
business films about management & employees & 
public relations made in the past 8 years. No fee. 
Deadline: forms: late May; prints: late June. Formats 
S-8, 16mm, V* " & VHS, PAL & NTSC. Contact: 
Festival International de film Economique et de For- 
mation, c/o Cerle Solvay, Av. Franklin Roosevelt 48, 
1050 Brussels, Belgium; tel. (02) 649-00-30 ext. 2528. 

• LA ROCHELLE INTERNATIONAL SAILING 
FILM& VIDEO FESTIVAL, France, Oct. 30-Nov. 3. 

This 5th biennial is a major event in the sailing world & 
for the town of La Rochelle. The posters, catalogue & 
regulations all indicate a well-financed, professional 
operation. It is about sailing (not one of your more 
low-budget diversions). Audience range: 
8,000-10,000. Documentaries, narratives, instruc- 
tional films & animation eligible. In '83, 8 U.S. films 
were shown, including prize-winners Friendship Sloop 
& Eighteen Footers. All accommodations & meals 
paid for if you can get to Paris. Winners get the red 
carpet (dinner with the mayor). A distribution agency 
has been set up for the festival films. Festival pays 
return shipping. Deadline: forms: Aug. 15; work: 
Sept. 1. Format: 16 & 35mm; Va ", VHS & Beta. No 
fees. Contact: Michel Masse, dir., Festival du film de 
Voile, Port de Minimes, 17005 La Rochelle, France; 
tel. (46) 45.41.42 or 45.14.03. 

• MONTREAL WORLD FILM FESTIVAL, 

Canada, Aug. 21-Sept. 1. U.S. features in the com- 
petition & official sections tend to be Hollywood pro- 
ductions, although Gregory Nava's Et Norte won the 
Grand Prize of the Americas in 1984. (The Festival of 
New Cinema, held in November in Montreal, is a more 
likely showcase for U.S. independent features.) An- 
thony Herrera's Mississippi Delta Blues and Bernice 
Mast's Family Romance were screened last year. In 
1985, in recognition of International Youth Year, they 
are inviting new works by filmmakers age 1 5 to 25 in 

MAY 1985 



film or video. This section has a special deadline of 
June 14. There is also an extensive market. Format: 16 
& 35mm. Deadline: July 15. Contact: Serge Losique, 
festival director, The World Film Festival-Montreal, 
1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd. W., Montreal, Quebec, 
Canada, H3G 1M8; tel. (514) 879-4057 or 7285; telex 
05-25472 WOFILMFEST. 

• SAN SEBASTIAN INTERNATIONAL FILM & 
VIDEO FESTIVAL, Spain, September. Still the big- 
gest and glitziest festival in Spain (budgeted at 
$600,000, according to Variety), they're very nice 
about sending invitations to U.S. makers & represen- 
tatives, but may only cover accommodations, if that 
(see "San Sebastian Still Reigns," The Independent, 
May 1984). Pat Russell's Reaching Out was the only 
U.S. film screened last year. The video section is more 
open. Lyn Blumenthal and Kate Horsfield from 
Chicago Video Data Bank attended, along with 
videomakers Max Almy and Bill Viola. Deadline: 
forms: late May. Contact: Apartado Correos, 397 
Reina Regati, s/n San Sebastian, Spain; tel. 43 424 
106; telex 36228. 

• TYNESIDE FILM FESTIVAL, England, October. 
Substantial cash prizes for features, shorts & videos. 
This festival, run for 8 years by Sheila Whitaker, 
highlights "independent cinema across the world." 
Possible broadcast on England's Channel 4. Over 100 
films shown. Formats: 16 & 35mm; 3 A ", & VHS. No 
fees. Deadline: June 30. Contact: Tyneside Film 
Festival, Tyneside Cinema, 10/12 Pilgrim St., Newcas- 
tle Upon Tyne, NE1 6QG, England; tel. 0632 321507. 

• VARNA WORLD ANIMATED FILM 
FESTIVAL, Bulgaria, October. A major biennial 
event, Varna focuses mainly on East European prod- 
uct, although Variety covers it & animators & festival 
programmers worldwide attend. In 1983 submissions 
came from 21 countries — but not from the U.S., al- 
though ASIFA president John Halas spoke. 
Categories include: shorts, features, children's anima- 
tion, TV productions, student films & 1st films. For- 
mat: 16 & 35mm. Films awarded prizes at Annecy or 
Zagreb not eligible. Deadline: forms: mid- July; prints: 
mid-Aug. Contact: Organizing Committee, Bulgar- 
film, % Rakovski St., Sofia 1000, Bulgaria; tel. 
59506/884183; telex 22447 Filmex BG. 

• WORLD WIDE VIDEO FESTIVAL, The Hague, 
September. In 4 years, this event has become one of the 
most widely known of all video festivals (see "Kicks at 
the Kijkhuis," The Independent, March 1984). Hun- 
dred of tapes in all styles, genres & lengths were shown 
practically around the clock last year. Organizer Tom 
Van Vliet usually comes to the U.S. in the spring. 
Deadline: June 1. Format: 3 A ". Contact before sen- 
ding work: Noordeinde 140, 2514 GP Den Haag, 
Holland; tel. (070)651880. 

HEALTH INSURANCE 

AIVF now offers its members an excellent 
Group Life & Medical Insurance Plan. 
•$1,000,000 Major Medical Plan, which pays 
85% of all eligible expenses not covered by the 
Basic Plan 

•$10,000 Group Life and $10,000 Group Ac- 
cidental Death or Dismemberment Insurance 
•Partial psychiatric coverage 
•Reimbursement for illness, injury & hospital 
expenses. 

•If you are a member, write: AIVF Health 
Plan, TEIGIT, 551 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 
10017. If you're not, call AIVF at (212) 473-3400 
and ask for free membership & health plan 
brochures. 
MAY 1985 



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THE INDEPENDENT 29 



IN AND OUT OF PRODUCTION 

Mary Guzzy and Deborah Erickson 





The Language Detective descends into his own semiotic hell 
when Peggy and Fred defy futurespeak in Leslie Thornton's 
work-in-progress. 




Eric Lau's angst-ridden "Ragged Edge" won 
the best narrative award at the Hong Kong 
Independent Film Festival. 



Narrative film and videomakers approach the 
task of creating a fictional world from many dif- 
ferent directions. Leslie Thornton's work-in- 
progress, Peggy and Fred in Hell, explores the 
comforting idea that hell is "both language and 
its absence." The time is the future. Technology 
has usurped nature, and the laws of language 
and physics have collapsed. Chaos is spreading 
and everyone speaks only in the future tense. 
The military hires a language detective to investi- 
gate Peggy and Fred, two "child/adults" who 
speak in archaic tenses. Complications arise 
when the detective "slips from the path of ra- 
tional scientific inquiry and becomes obsessed 
with something he can 't name. " Peggy and Fred 
in Hell, in black-and-white, is slated for comple- 
tion in August 1985. 

Speech and silence are equally isolating for 
two lovers in a disintegrating relationship. Give 
Me a Spell, a 20-minute 16mm color film 
directed by Guido Chiesa, follows a couple's 
alternating acceptance and rejection of each 
other. Shot for $6,000, with co-production from 
Otto Grokenberger of Munich and New Films 
Focus of New York, Give Me a Spell will travel 
the festival circuit and appears in a short film 
festival at New York's Squat Theatre this 
month. It is distributed by Chiesa's own 
Swampland Productions in New York. 

Recent NYU film school graduate Eric Lau 
has garnered the best narrative award at the 1985 

30 THE INDEPENDENT 



Hong Kong Independent Film Festival for his 
52-minute color work, Ragged Edge. The story 
of a man whose confused, abusive family rela- 
tionships drive him to insanity and murder, Rag- 
ged Edge explores the difficulty of survival in a 
society that has little time for healing those un- 
fortunate enough to be victimized by its sacred 
institutions. Lau wrote, directed, produced, and 
edited the film for three years while working as a 
waiter and attending NYU. Director of photog- 
raphy was Ernest Dickerson, who later filmed 
John Sayles's Brother from Another Planet. 
Principle roles are performed by Tibor Feldman, 
Ric Gitlan and Paul Barnett. 

Filmmaker/actress Leslie Levinson has com- 
pleted her 31 -minute black-and-white film, In- 
separable, a semi-autobiographical story of an 
aspiring artist and the Bohemian circles in which 
she travels. Levinson wrote, directed, and star- 
red in Inseparable, which she began five years 
ago as a project for the Women's Interart Center 
16mm Narrative Film Workshop in New York. 
Prize money from the Brooklyn Arts and 
Cultural Association annual film contest allow- 
ed her to shoot additional footage and expand 
her story, as did support from John Reitz, who 
produced the project and also appears in the 
film. Levinson 's future goal is to "put women on 
the screen in a way they've never been seen" and 
to "obliterate stereotypes." 

Producer/ director Liane Brandon, founding 
member of the New Day Film Co-op and pro- 



fessor of media studies and film production at 
the University of Massachusetts, is in production 
with How To Prevent a Nuclear War, a 
documentary about what average people can do 
to stop the Big One. Instead of focusing on the 
gruesome consequences of nuclear disaster, 
Brandon says How To Prevent a Nuclear War is 
intended to "celebrate life; to invigorate rather 
than depress; to motivate rather than paralyze." 
Much of the labor on the project has been 
donated by Boston-area independents such as 
cinematographer Boyd Estus, associate pro- 
ducer Ann Carol Grossman and production 
coordinator Carol Shedd, while folksinger Tom 
Lehrer donated the rights to his music for the 
project. The film has been endorsed by Physi- 
cians for Social Responsibility. Brandon 
estimates the film will cost about $44,000. 

Taking another tack on the nuclear issue, Sam 
Love and Kathleen Quaife of Washington, DCs 
Public Communications Incorporated have 
joined the elite corps of filmmakers whose works 
have been denied educational certification by the 
United States Information Agency (which later 
reversed its decision on appeal). Their 22-minute 
color film, Radiation: Impact on Life, details the 
effects of high-level radiation on the body "using 
eyewitness accounts and newsreels of Hiroshima 
after the bomb." It also explores the effects of 
low-level radiation from X-ray and industrial 
sources. The film was recently named best didac- 
tic film at the Scientific Film Festival in Bar- 

M AY 1985 



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• Access to funding, distribution, technical and programming information 

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celona, Spain. "After being initially rejected by 
our government as not being educational, we are 
pleased that it has won an international award," 
said producer Love. 

In February, PBS aired The Precious Legacy, 
a documentary by Dan Weissman and Nelson E. 
Breen about the State Jewish Museum of Czech- 
oslovakia. The Nazis established the museum to 
preserve the possessions of the Czechoslovakian 
Jews whom they were sending to concentration 
camps. Originally designed to mock "an extinct 
race," the museum's carefully preserved and 
catalogued collection has become a rare archive 
of Judaic art. The half-hour film was produced 
with funding from Philip Morris, Inc. in con- 
junction with a touring exhibition from the 
museum. It is distributed by Talking Pictures in 
New York. 

Gaza Ghetto, an 82-minute color documen- 
tary produced by Joan Mandell, Pea Holmquist, 
and Pierre Bjorklund, will be screened at New 
York's Film Forum, May 29- June 1 1 . Shot dur- 
ing a two-year period "under extremely difficult 
conditions," Gaza Ghetto portrays a Palestinian 
refugee family living in the Jabalia refugee camp 
in the Gaza strip. It was funded by the Swedish 
Film Institute and Swedish Television's Inter- 
national Development Agency. 

"Independent filmmaking is alive and well on 
Miami Beach," reports Sheryl Riley, whose 
company, Smiley Riley Productions, completed 
a one-and-a-half minute 16mm comedy entitled 
Instant Appeal this past winter. The film depicts 
a video dating service where the client is not only 
put on the screen, but made immediately attrac- 
tive in the process. It was written, directed and 
produced by Steven Levien and shot and edited 
by Riley. The film was screened at the Miami In- 
ternational Film Festival. Levien and Riley are 
now working on a second short, called Trans- 
plant, scheduled for completion this spring, and 
look forward to producting their own feature 
film in the not-too-distant future. 

And video isn't doing too badly in Bozeman, 
Montana. Producers Ronn Bayly and Susan 
Regele completed A.B. Guthrie's Vanishing 
Paradise, a half-hour profile of the Pulitzer 
Prize-winning author of Shane. The piece was 
aired in January 1985 on public television station 
KUED in Salt Lake City, Utah and received a 
citation at the recent Northwest Film and Video 
Festival. Funded in part by the Montana Com- 
mittee for the Humanities, Vanishing Paradise 
will be distributed to other PBS stations 
throughout the year. Bayly and Regele previous- 
ly-produced the documentary Jeannette Rankin 
—The Woman Who Voted No, shown by PBS 
in 1984 and 1985. 

Judi Fogelman's fifth film, Handing the Baton, 

a two-and-a-half minute animation, was com- 
pleted in December. Rotoscoped and abstract 
images of a long-distance runner designed by 
Fogelman, Helen Hester, and George Namoki 

MAY 1985 



are narrated by 1984 American Book Award 
winner by Maurice Kenny, who also wrote the ti- 
tle poem. 

Producer/director Stuart A. Goldman of 
New York's Multi-Media Masters reports that 
the one-hour documentary, Alberta Hunter: My 
Castle's Rockin'!, a portrait of of the late blues 
singer and composer, will be completed in late 
summer of 1985. After 20 years of self-imposed 
obscurity, Hunter made a musical comeback at 
the age of 82. The film was begun as a 10-minute 
corporate motivational film and won an Ameri- 
can Film Festival red ribbon and a Cine Golden 
Eagle in 1983. Deciding that there was much 
more to Hunter's story than could be told in 10 
minutes, Goldman expanded the film to its pres- 
ent length. It is written by Chris Albertson and 
shot by Jack Churchill. My Castle's Rockin'! is 



intended for PBS broadcast in 1986. 

Tom Davenport (Grimm's fairy tale series) of 
Delaplane, Virginia is editing his one-hour 
documentary, A Singing Stream, tentatively 
scheduled for release this fall. "A study of the 
roots of gospel in the context of the community 
that supports it," the film depicts the important 
role of spiritual music and religion in several 
generations of a black southern family. . .John 
Hanson ( Wildrose) will take his new screenplay, 
Happy Hour, for a workout at the Sundance In- 
stitute this summer . . . And Fanlight Produc- 
tions of Boston {Code Gray: Ethical Dilemmas 
in Nursing) has released six new titles on health- 
related issues this year, including Good Monday 
Morning, which explores the struggles of women 
office workers to change working conditions in 
the corporate arena. 



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Since 1983 offering access to: 

ADO and DVE digital video effects 
Grass Valley 300 switcher 
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Now available through: 

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Notices are listed free of charge. 
AIVF members receive first priority; 
others are included as space 
permits. Send notices to: THE 
INDEPENDENT, c/o FIVF, 625 
Broadway, 9th floor, New York, NY 
10012. attn.: Notices. For further 
information, call: (212) 473-3400. 
Deadline: 8th of second preceding 
month (e.g. May 8 for the July 
issue). 

Buy • Rent • Sell 

• FOR SALE: Bolex H-16 w/Angenieux 12-120, 10 
Switar, 2 400 ' mags, barney, crystal sync, battery, 
case, $2,200 or best offer; Rex-5, 16 Yvar, Macro- 
Switar 26 & 75, tripod, case, SI ,300 or best offer; Uher 
4200 recorder, case, nicad, cables, $350. Also Minolta 
color meter, Bolex H-8 Rex-3, Double 2-8, Nikon 200 
f/4, CP single system record/monitor head, 2 16mm 
Mitchell 400 ' mags, misc. editing gear. Will sell as 
package or separate items. Also: Cinemonta 720C 
16mm 6-plate, mint condition, $13,500. Contact: 
Clifford, (415) 444-3074, CA. 

• FOR REST: Broadcast gear: Ikegami HL83, BvU 
110 w/time code, Betacams, Sachtler tripods, & 
experienced crew. Lisa, (212) 825-8696 or (212) 
267-8221, NY. 

• FOR SALE: 35 sealed 400 ' rolls, Eastman Kodak 
7247 negative raw stock (stored in freezer); Eclair ACL 
200 '. (914) 452-5807, NY. 

• FOR SALE: IBM Selectric typewriter. (212) 
666-6787, NY & leave message. 

• FOR RENT: JVC/KY 2700 camera package, w/ 
crew & car. S350/day. V* "postproduction. Complete 
production packages from idea to finished product. 
Erik Lewis Productions, (718) 851-8672, NY. 

• FOR SALE: Arri II-C package. Variable-speed 
motor, 7 mags (400 ' & 200,), sharp lenses, lens shade 
w/ filter holders, filters, orig. cases, Nicad batteries & 
chargers, original Arri tripod w/ long legs & baby legs, 
mint condition. 16mm camera, both single system & 
double system w7 Nagra. 2 400' mags, 12-120 
Angenieux zoom, batt. & AC. Nagra III w/ many 
additional factory-made features, e.g. buDt-in mics for 
slates. Many accessories & adaptors. Sony 1640 video 
camera in case, Sony VO 4800 deck, mint condition. 
Best offer. Omni Tota-light kit w/ lights, ext. cables, 2 
sunguns. Many, P.O. Box 74, NY, NY 10025-0074, 
(212) 662-5364. 

• FOR SALE: Sony VO-1800 V* " player recorder. 
Perfect working condition. $500 firm. Debra 
Goldman, M-F, 10am-5pm, (212) 473-3400 or (718) 
784-4919, NY. 

• FOR SALE: Refitted tripod w7 gyroscopic head, 
wooden legs, spreader & handle. Ideal for heavier-type 
film cameras. $285. (212) 874-0132, NY. 

• FOR SALE: Sony M3, 3-5 tube video camera w/ 
Canon 15x lens, 3 batteries, used approx. 50 hrs., Sony 
VO 4800 recorder w/BVU modification. Both mint 
cond., $7900. Also Jr. Pro fluid head tripod, $375; BV 
644 super cardioid mic, $125. For rent: Sony M3 & 
4800, $200/day w/ technician. Eclair ACL 16mm 
camera & cinematographer, $200/ day. Marita Simp- 
son, (212) 982-6054, NY. 

• FOR SALE: Canon Scopic 16MS camera w/ 12.5 
mm to 75mm zoom, auto-exposure, macro & single 



32 THE INDEPENDENT 



frame, like new. $1500 or best offer. Ron, (617) 
787-7209 (days) or (617) 527-5276 (eves.), MA. 

• FOR SALE: 1968 Steenbeck w/ audio mod- 
ifications. Very good condition, reasonably priced. 
Gale, (212)966^600, NY. 

• FOR SALE: Oxberry animation table stand model 
LC-3 w/ motorized extension dual bars model; 16mm 
camera, lights, Acme registration punch. Completely 
ready for use, $11,995. 16mm Auricon Super 1200 
camera, TVT shutter, Filmagnetic; 17-85 Pan Cinor 
lens, 1200 ' mag. Complete, $1295. D4 Film Studios, 
(617)444-0226, MA. 

• FOR SALE: JVC KY-1900U portable 3-tube pro- 
color video camera w/ 10X servo zoom lens HZ- 
2100U; AC adaptor, 2 DC-C19 batteries. Excellent 
condition, $2995 firm. (201) 721^067, NJ. 

• FOR SALE: V* " edit system w/ Sony 2260 player, 
2860A recorder & RM430 control unit, $3000. (516) 
498-9000, NY. 

Conferences • Workshops 

• PROFESSIONAL VIDEO SEMINARS: Direct- 
ing, scripting, special effects, postproduction, 
management & interactive disc applications. 
Philadelphia, Westin Bellevue-Stratford, June 18-21; 
Chicago, McCormick Center, July 9-12; Houston, 
Westin Galleria, Aug. 13-16. North American Televi- 
sion Institute, Knowledge Industry Publications, 701 
Westchester Ave., White Plains, NY, 10604, (914) 
328-9156. 

• CHILDREN'S MEDIA: Pre-American Film 
Festival conference on Developments in Children's 
Media. Sessions on adapting children's literature to the 
screen, conception & packaging of the Reading Rain- 
bow series, children's media research and Vi " video 
distribution & use. Mon., May 27 at the Roosevelt 
Hotel, NYC. Admission to conference & luncheon: 
$100 if you register before May 13, $125 at the door. 
Contact: American Film Festival, 45 John St., NYC 
10038, (212) 227-5599. 

• COMPUTER GRAPHICS WORKSHOPS on 
Time Arts Lumena System offer by 185 Corporation 
Stand-By program and Video Computer Animation 
Workshop. 1-day introductory' seminar offered on 
weekends, every 6 weeks, $60. Prerequisite for inten- 
sive hands-on individualized workshop, $250. 185 
Corporation, Stand-By Program, 1923 Cadman Plaza 
Sta., Brooklyn, NY 11202, (718) 768-3334, 

• SUMMER VIDEO PRODUCTION WORK- 
SHOPS offered by the School of Graduate & Continu- 
ing Education, Fairfield University. 2 intro 
workshops, July 8-12; 2 intermediate workshops, Ju- 
ly 15-19. Sessions are 9am-5pm daily w/ screenings & 
editing nightly. Tuition: $495 per workshop, and $450 
for those continuing from intro to intermediate pro- 
gram. Lab fee: $25/course. Full room & board, 
$180/ week. Submit applications w/non-refundable 
$15 fee. Contact: School of Graduate & Continuing 
Education, (203) 255-5411, ext. 2249, CT. 

• ASIAN AMERICAN MEDIA: National Con- 
ference sponsored by the National Asian American 
Telecommunications Assn. Panels & workshops on 
aesthetics, nuts & bolts issues, advocacy. Presentation 
of Steve Tatsukawa Memorial Award. July 26-28 at 
the University of California, LA. NAATA, 346-9th 
St., 2nd fl., San Francisco, CA 94103, (415) 863-0814. 

• GREGORY BATESON AND THE PATTERN 
THAT CONNECTS: Symposium on Art and 
Ecology. 3 NY artists Frank Gillette, Paul Ryan & 

MAY 1985 



critic Lucy Lippard, will explore work of Gregory 
Bateson through presentations & discussion of their 
own work in order to understand art as essential to 
ecological culture. Sat., May 25, 10am-5pm, $15. 
Contact: Jocelyn Turner, Cathedral of St. John the 
Divine, W. 1 1 1 St. at Amsterdam Ave., NY NY, (212) 
678-6888. 

• THE DOCUMENTAR Y IN CRISIS: Roundtable 
discussion sponsored by Film Arts Foundation & 
Assoc, of Cal. Independent Public Television Pro- 
ducers in San Francisco, Sun., May 19. Producers, 
PTV reps & critics will speak. For more info: Cathy 
Phoenix, FAF, 346 9th St, San Francisco, CA 94103; 
(415)552-8760. 



Editing Facilities 



• STEENBECKS FOR RENT: 8 & 6-plate. Delivered 
to your workspace. Reasonable rates by the month. 
Octavio, (718) 855-8366, NY. 

• 3 A " EDITING: JVC 8250 w/ convergence con- 
troller, $20/hr. Discounts for long-term projects. On 
Track Video, (212) 864-5166, NY. 

• 16MM EDITING & POSTPRODUCTION in 
sunny Oakland. 6-plate unAmerican flatbed, 2 fully- 
equipped benches & motorized sync; adjacent 
transfers, projection, narration recording & free park- 
ing. 24-hr. access. BAVC, FAF & AIVF discounts. 
(415)436-6978. 

• NEW HORIZONS STUDIOS: Off-line editing in 
comfortable surroundings at award- winning produc- 
tion house. Convenient midtown location. Includes 
Tapehandlers w/ new RM866U, TBC, 3M proc, wave- 
form, Ikegami title camera, CG, 16-ch. audio mixing. 
JVC KM 2000 SEG, chroma key, $90/hr. (212) 
490-9082, NY. 

• NEGATIVE MATCHING: 16mm, Super 16mm, 
35mm A&B rolls cut for regular answer & release prin- 
ting, 16mm-35mm blow-ups, direct negative to tape 
transfer. Reasonable rates. References available. One 
White Glove, Tim Grennan, (718) 897-4145, NY. 



• FOR RENT: 6-plate Steenbeck editing room. Fully 
equipped incl. telephone. Special rates for in- 
dependents. Bob Mack Prods., (212) 736-3074, NY. Fr©©ldnCerS 



over 50 award-winning films. New Day Central, Attn: 
James Daigle, 853 Broadway, Rm. 1210, NYC 10003, 
(212) 477-4604; contact by May 15. 

• MEDIA ON ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT: Info 
on films, videotapes & slideshows for inclusion in an 
environmental media guide to be published later this 
year by Media Network & Environmental Action. 
Martha Wallner, (212) 620-0878, NY. 

• SHORT FILMS: For preview to AV-oriented peo- 
ple from foreign countries at the International Center 
in New York. Send promotional literature to: Sol 
Rubin, Coordinator, Meet the Filmmaker Series, P.O. 
Box 40, NYC 10038. 

• INDEPENDENT SCIENCE FILMS: France's new 
national science museum, Pare de la Villette, is looking 
for 16mm non-commercial, independent films & 
tapes. Subjects: natural & environmental sciences, 
transportation, energy, agriculture, animal life, in- 
dustry; current or historical. Museum will open in 
1986. Emma Cohn, 2827 Valentine Ave., Bronx, NY 
10458. 

• VIDEO WOMEN magazine format cable access 
series on Pittsburgh's Channel 21 showcases films & 
tapes by, &/or about women. Send description of 
work, running time, & publicity materials, indicating 
the mininum compensation you require for cablecast- 
ing work 4- 1 times during 2- week period . Channel 2 1 
reachs about 75,000 homes, c/o Access Video, 1150 
Greenfield Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15217. 

• SAN FRANCISCO MIME TROUPE FOOTAGE 
SEARCH: Archival film, video, Super-8, photos & 
related memorabilia of the group from 1960s to the 
present needed for independent feature documentary. 
Especially interested in performance, demonstrations, 
& cultural/political life of San Francisco Bay Area 
during the '60s. Glenn Silber, Catalyst Media, 1838 N. 
Mariposa Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90027, (213) 
668-2545 or (213) 667-0795. 

• HOME VIDEO DISTRIBUTION: VideoTrek Pro- 
ductions seeks full-length independent film & videos 
for distribution to home video stores, including fea- 
tures, documentaries, etc. Kevin Bender, 386 Grand 
Ave., Oakland, CA 94610. 



• SAN FRANCISCO 3 A " EDITING: Sony Type 5 
system, Beta & VHS dubbing. $15/hr. self-service; 
$25/hr. w/ operator. By appointment: Mermaid Pro- 
ductions, affiliate of EZTV, (415) 777-3105, SF. 

• EDITING ROOM: V* " and VHS-to-H " w/ Con- 
vergence Super 90, tapehandlers, Adda TBC, time 
code reader-generator, fades, overdubs. New equip- 
ment. Lincoln Center area. $20/hr. during business 
hrs. for AIVF members editing noncommercial proj- 
ects. Also available: editors, scripting, Chyron. Hank 
Domatch, TV Enterprises, (212) 874-5424, NY. 

• 3 A " VIDEO EDITING w/ new Sony 5850 decks & 
RM 440 controller. Also l A ", VHS & Beta dupes. 
Editing, $15/hr.; $10/hr. Tape stock available. Video 
Deal Productions, (212) 254-3298, NY. 

Films • Tapes Wanted 

• JEWISH FILM FOUNDATION seeks documen- 
tary or fictional films/ videos on Jewish subject matter 
for PBS series. Length open. Also, foundation's new 
distribution cooperative seeks independently- 
produced films/ videos for all markets. Mimi Rosen- 
bush or Beverly Siegel, 6025 N. Christiana, Chicago, 
IL 60659, (312)478-9290. 

• NEW DAY FILM COOPERATIVE seeks new 
films about social change made by filmmakers in- 
terested in self-distribution. National film coop w/ 

MAY 1985 



• VIDEOGRAPHER EX-DANCER: Specializing in 
documentation of & collaboration on dance projects. 
Vi " or Vi " production, color camera. Performance: 
$150; rehearsal: $100 (excluding tape). Penny Ward 
Video, (212) 228-1427, NY. 

• CINEMATOGRAPHER: W/ 16 & Super-16 
Aaton package, available for low-budget high quality 
16 & 35mm features. Igor, (212) 794-2011, NY. 

• RESEARCH & WRITING: For quality work on 
documentary or fiction films. Janet Wickenhaver, 700 
Grand St., Hoboken, NJ 07030, (201) 792-5047. 

• COMPOSER SEEKS FILM & VIDEO PROJ- 
ECTS: Professional musician w/ 20 yrs. experience 
looking for filmmakers who need music composed for 
their projects. Have performed for Mommie Dearest, 
Hair, Atomic Artist, performed with Leonard Bern- 
stein, Michael Franks, Noel Pointer. Rick Cutler, 
(212)246-1154, NY. 

• EXPERIENCED RESEARCHER/SCRIPT- 
WRITER: Looking for projects. Have worked on an- 
thropological ventures, researched Native Americans 
in Manhattan & presently writing musical play. Ability 
in Spanish. Gwynne Vernet, 423 Broome St., NYC 
10013,(212)925^114. 

• SCRIPT SUPERVISOR/CONTINUITY: Avail- 
able for independent shorts & features. Valero, (212) 
228-8756, NY. 



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• EXPERIENCED CREW MEMBER: Interested in 
feature/dramatic projects. Have worked electric on 2 
features. PA on 1 & numerous tape projects (V* " & 
1 "). Joseph C. D'Allessandro Freelance Production 
Services, 124 Albermarle St., Rochester, NY 14613, 
(716)254-8332. 

• PRODUCER/ DIRECTOR/ CAMERM AN: 17 
years experience in films, video & TV. Shooting in 
Europe (mainly Germany) this spring & summer, 1 will 
have time for more assignments. Returning late sum- 
mer. Documentaries, industrials, medical films. 
Many, PO Box 74, NYC 10025-0074, (212) 662-5364. 

• PRODUCER/ DIRECTOR/CAMERAMAN: Ike- 
gami 77. Production of your corporate/organization 
documentary. $350/day. References on request for 
local & syndicated cablecasts. P. Greg Alland, (212) 
420-0953, NY. 

• CINEMATOGRAPHER AVAILABLE w/ Arri 
16SR, fast lenses & lights. Fluent in French & Spanish. 
Negotiable rates: Pedro Bonilla, (213) 454-8909, CA. 

• AWARD-WINNING FILM /VIDEO CAMERA- 
MAN ' w/ loaded 16mm Aaton available for documen- 
tary, dramatic & conceptual assignments. John 
Bishop, 917 E. Broadway, Haverhill, MA01830, (617) 
372-0458. 

• ACTRESS FOR VO'S/TRANSLATION: I can 
translate, dub, or do narration. Spanish to English 
sample tape available of work done for Ministry of 
Education of Nicaragua. Spanish & French. R. Pikser, 
(212)222-0865, NY. 

• CINEMATOGRAPHER available w/ CP-16 and 
Arri 16BL packages: Nagra w/ mics, Light kit, 6-plate 
editing console & mini- van for camera crew. Reas- 
onable rates & special rates for documentaries. Bil- 
ingual English, Italian & some Spanish. Renato 
Tonelli, (718) 236-0153, NY. 

• VIDEOGRAPHER w/ new Sony DXC-M3 & 
broadcast gear ready to shoot news, documentary, 
dance & other subjects. Full ENG package & crew as 
needed. Rates negotiable. L. Goodsmith, (212) 
989-8156, NY. 

• FILM COMPOSER available. Experienced in all 
musical styles. Audio & video cassette samples 
available on request. Tony Salvata, (718) 788-2602, 

NY. 

Opportunities • Gigs 

• FILM /VIDEO GRAD seeks partner/producer to 
form independent music/video production company. 
(718)225-0564, NY. 

• CAMERA CREWv// V* " gear looking for film gaf- 
fer interested in developing video lighting skills. Paid & 
spec work. Send resume to: Imagelink Productions, 
355 W. 85th St. Apt 61, NYC 10024. 

• DOCUMENTARY PRODUCER WANTED: For 
documentary series The Moore Report, produced by 
WCCO-TV, the Minneapolis CBS affiliate. Needs 
producer w/ good track record to produce 2 1-hr. 
documentaries/year on staff at WCCO. Bob Thurber 
or Mike Sullivan, WCCO Television, 1 1th on the Mall, 
Minneapolis, MN 55403, (612) 330-2400. 

• WRITER WANTED: To rewrite action/ detective 
film script on spec. Producer & director interested in 
project. Melvin Stephens, 4100 College Heights Dr., 
University Park, MD 20782, (301) 779-1076. 

• WANTED: Affordable, low-priced New York 
studio to tape The Scott & Gary Show. We feature 
great bands & attempts at great comedy, w/ cult cable 
following growing in NY, SF, Boston, DC, MD & 
OH. Prefer evening & weekend sessions, & are willing 
to give you "Recorded at..." credit. Deborah 



Erickson, (212) 473-3400 (days) or Scott Lewis (718) 
339-8145 (eves.), NY. 



Publications 



34 THE INDEPENDENT 



• SOCIAL ISSUE MEDIA: Publications available 
from Media Network include Guide to Disarmament 
Media (plus update), Films on Central America, Films 
on Reproductive Rights, Community Media, Films on 
Adoption, & Mobilizing Media; the 1984 Nat'l Direc- 
tory of A-V Resources on Nuclear War & the Arms 
Race, Reel Change, In Focus, Taping It Together 
video manual for community groups, & Gray Panther 
& labor-related media guides. Media Network, 208 W. 
13th St., NYC 10011, (212) 620-0877. 

• BURDEN OF DREAMS: THE BOOK by Les 
Blank & Maureen Gosling. Screenplays, journals, 
reviews & photos from Blank's film about Werner 
Herzog's Fitzcarraldo. 330 pages, 70 photos. $12.95 
(paper). Les Blank, 10341 San Pablo Ave., El Cerrito, 
CA 94530. 

• 1985 VIDEO COPYRIGHT SEMINAR: Record- 
ings of 1-day seminar conducted by Ken Winslow & 
Jerome K. Miller. Covers educators' rights to show 
videocassettes, pitfalls of screening in libraries & 
dorms, legal problems in taping from satellites, recent 
developments in video technology, directory to low- 
cost video distributors, & institutional copyright policy 
outline. $39 plus $1.50 sniping & handling. Copyright 
Information Services, 440 Tucker Ave., Suite D, Fri- 
day Harbor. WA 98250. 

• SPIRAL #3: The quarterly publication devoted to 
independent film announces the publication of its next 
issue as a 60-minute audio cassette tape. Features a 
variety of creative experimentation by filmmakers, in- 
cluding music & soundtracks, interviews. First-time 
anthology of audio works by independent filmmakers. 
Limited edition, available April 1. $6 postpaid. 
Subscriptions: $15 (1 year, 4 issues), $20 for institu- 
tions & foreign. Spiral, PO Box 5603, Pasadena, CA 
91107,(818)358-6255. 

Resources • Funds 

• I6MMNEGA TIVEMA TCHING: A&B roUs cut at 
reasonable rates. Bruce Kubert, (212) 228-7352, NY. 

• THIRD WORLD PRODUCERS PROJECT: Film 

News Now Foundation provides consulting services in 
production/postproduction, budgeting, fundraising, 
exhibition, distribution & promotion. Also offers 
fiscal sponsorship. Interested in producers working on 
social issue & innovative video/film projects. Chris 
Choy or Renee Tajima, Film News Now Foundation, 
c/o 160 Fifth Ave., Rm, 911, NYC 10010, (212) 
243-2310. 

• KIND & REASONABLE MOVING COMPANY: 
PA w/ van, $175/day. Weekly & hourly rates avail- 
able. Household, airport, commercial. (212)929-3570, 

NY. 

• A TTENTION WRITERS: Are you seeking evalua- 
tions, sales, developments deals, or agency representa- 
tions? For free info, contact: Flaming Rose Produc- 
tions, 770 Princeton Ave., Metedeconk, NJ 08724, 
(201) 892-5552. 

• INDIEFEX: Sound EFX, foleys & dubbing at new 
lower rates for independents. Expanded postproduc- 
tion services. 10% discount for AIVF members. Ran- 
dal Alan Goya, 949 Amsterdam Ave., #4N, NYC 
10025, (212) 678-7989. 

• PSYCHOANALYTIC PSYCHOTHERAPY: 

Judith Smith, C.S.W., offers individual & group 
counseling to independent artists & freelancers. Highly 
trained w/ years of experience. Specializes in problems 
arising in interpersonal relationships, artistic careers & 

MAY 1985 



rearing of young children. Some reduced rates for 
AIVF members. Village Area. (212) 691-6695, NY. 

• MULTI-MEDIA CONSULTING SERVICES: 
Theater, film & video. Coordination of fundraising 
proposals, consultation, scripts & resume writing. Pro- 
duction planning: budgets/spread sheets, revenue pro- 
jections. Computer graphic services (drafting, 
AutoCad, instruction), wordprocessing. Staff w/ 
20-plus yrs. experience in all media. S.S.C.S., PO Box 
2426, Westport, CT 06880, (203) 222-7433. 

• AFI INDEPENDENT FILMMAKER PRO- 
GRAM: 1986 grant cycle applications available after 
July 15. Deadline: September 13. The Independent 
Filmmaker Program, c/o American Film Institute, 
2021 N. Western Ave., PO Box 27999, Los Angeles, 
CA 90027, (213)856-7696. 

• KEY LIGHT PRODUCTIONS: Provides complete 
production services, from project development & 
shooting through editing. Full support staff, including 
field producers, writers, researches, PAs & broadcast 
location crew. Beth, (212) 581-9748, NY. 



Trims • Glitches 



• CONGRATULATIONS to James Irwin, whose 
film Its Frame of Mind was presented as part of a 
special program at the 6th Quebec International Super 
8 Film Festival in Montreal, Canada last February. 

• CONGRATULATIONS to AIVF members whose 
works have been chosen for the Independent Focus 
series on WNET-New York: Diane Orr & C. Larry 
Roberts, SL-1; Ross Spears, The Electric Valley; Peter 
Schnall, The Real Thing; Don North, Guazapa; Pedro 
Rivera & Susan Zeig, Manos A La Obra: The Story of 
Operation Bootstrap; Glenn Silber & Claudia 
Vianello, How Far Home: Veterans from Vietnam & 
Atomic Artist; Michelle Citron, What You Take for 
Granted; Jean de Segonzac, White Oak Goes Black; 
Erik Lewis, Story of Gentrification; Jaime Hellman, 
Made for TV; Ronald Gray & Kathleen Collins, Los- 
ing Ground; Nancy Gold, The Lady Sings; Peter 
Wallach, Raygun's Nightmare; Judy Filere, Ms. 
Universe; Flip Johnson, The Roar from Within; Max 
Almy, Perfect Leader; Skip Blumberg, Music for 
Bicycle Orchestra; J.T. Takagi, Community Plot; 
Babette Mangolte, The Sky on Location. The 13-week 
series begins Sun. April 17. 

• CONGRATULATIONS to AIVF members who 
have been awarded grants from the American Film In- 
stitute's Independent Filmmaker Program: Dan Curry 
& Kimberly Loughlin for Southern Ballet; Pablo 
Frasconi for Survival of a Small City; Drew Klausner 
for an experimental animation piece; Mary Lucier for 
Aviatrix; Kent Moorhead for The Diamond King; 
Steven Okazaki for Paper Hearts; Steven Palfi for 
Junebug Jabbo Jones: A Video Drama; & Meri Wein- 
garten for Take Back the Night. 14 grants, totalling 
$245,000, were awarded. 

• CONGRATULATIONS to Fred Baca, who was 
awarded a special merit award cash prize of 30,000 yen 
for his video The 10 Minute Bob Show at the 7th 
Tokyo Video Festival. 

• CONGRATULATIONS to Curtis Choy for win- 
ning first prize last Feb. at the Big Muddy Film Festival 
for his film The Fall of the I-Hotel. 

• CONGRATULATIONS to AIVF members who 
have been awarded grants from the Midwest Regional 
Fellowship Program: Dan Curry & Kimberley 
Loughlin for Southern Ballet; Homero de la Cruz for 
Migrant Family; Tom Hayes for Native Sons; John T. 
Caldwell for a video triology of foreign cultures; Mary 
Filice for No Place Like Home; & Miroslaw Rogala for 
Faces: Outerpretation. 

MAY 1985 



HANDS-ON PROFESSIONAL TRAINING 

Weynand Associates is pleased to announce the following hands-on, profes- 
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D.C.for April-December, 1985. 

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"COMPUTERIZED VIDEOTAPE EDITING" - over 200 pages. A hands-on 
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1 MEMORANDA 



RVF THANKS. . . 

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FREE DANCE TIX 

AI VF needs volunteers to work with staff on our 
tenth anniversary celebration, June 4, 1985. 
Volunteers will receive free tickets to the celebra- 
tion's buffet/ dance, to be held at a leading New 
York club. Call Larry Sapadin, (212) 473-3400, 
before May 21. 

CONGRATULATIONS 

To Richard Schmiechen and Robert Epstein, 
whose The Times of Harvey Milk won the 
Academy Award for best documentary film. 
And to Marjory Hunt and Paul Wagner, direc- 
tors of The Stone Carvers, which took the Oscar 
for best short documentary. 



MAY FIVF SEMINARS 
MAKING IT: THE BUSINESS OF FILM 

A Three-Part Series 
Local 1199, 310 W. 43rd St., 7:30 to 10:00 p.m. 

GETTING THE MONEY: FILM FINANCING 

Thursday, May 16 

Trends in grant funding, "hybrid" financing, legal issues in limited 

partnerships, headhunting. 

GETTING IT MADE: THE UNIONS 

Wednesday, May 22 
Representatives from film unions explain low-budget production policies. 

GETTING IT OUT: DISTRIBUTION 

Thursday, May 30 

Distribution strategies, working with a distributor, promotion and publicity, 

self-distribution, booking. 

SERIES ADMISSION: $40 AIVF member with card, 

$55 non-members 

INDIVIDUAL SEMINAR ADMISSION (depending on availability): 

$18 AIVF members, $22 non-members 

For more information, call Debra Goldman at FIVF: 

(212)473-3400. 



I I ANNIVERSARY 
I V CELEBRATION 



Plans for the 10th Anniversary Celebration are in full 

swing. Mark June 4, 1985 on your calendar. That's 

the day when ATVF members, supporters and friends 

will gather to mark this milestone in our history. The 

presentation of the INDIE Awards and the premiere 

screening of a compilation tape of members' work will 

take place at the Museum of Modern Art in New York 

City, followed by a dance at another location. 

Watch your mailbox for more details. 



36 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1985 



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FILM & VIDEO MONTHLY 



irOEPENDENr 



JUNE 1985 

VOLUME 8, NUMBER 5 



Publisher: 

Editor: 

Associate Editors: 

Contributing Editors: 



Art Director: 
Advertising: 

Distributor: 



Typesetting: 
Printer: 



Lawrence Sapadin 
Martha Gever 
Susan Linfield 
Renee Tajima 
Robert Aaronson 
Bob Brodsky 
Deborah Erickson 
Debra Goldman 
Mary Guzzy 
Fenton Johnson 
David Leitner 
Toni Treadway 
Bethany Eden 
Jacobson 
Barbara Spence; 
Marionette, Inc. 
(718-773-9869) 
Bernhard DeBoer 
113 E. Center St.. 
Nutley NJ 07110 
Skeezo Typography 
PetCap Press 



The Independent is published ten times year- 
ly by the Foundation for Independent Video 
and Film, Inc. (FIVF), 625 Broadway, 9th Floor, 
New York, NY 10012, (212-473-3400), a not- 
for-profit, tax-exempt educational foundation 
dedicated to the promotion of video and 
film, and by the Association of Independent 
Video and Filmmakers, Inc. (AIVF), the na- 
tional trade association of independent pro- 
ducers and individuals involved in indepen- 
dent video and film. Subscription is included 
with membership in AIVF. Together, FIVF and 
AIVF provide a broad range of educational 
and professional services for independents 
and the general public Publication of The 
Independent is made possible in part with 
public funds from the New York State Council 
on the Arts and the National Endowment for 
the Arts, a federal agency. 

The Independent welcomes unsolicited 
manuscripts. Manuscripts cannot be returned 
unless a stamped, self-addressed envelope is 
included. No responsibility is assumed for loss 
or damage. 

Letters to The Independent should be ad- 
dressed to the editor. Letters may be edited 
for length. 

All contents are copyright of the Founda- 
tion for Independent Video and Film, Inc., ex- 
cept where otherwise noted. Reprints require 
written permission and acknowledgement of 
the article's previous appearance in The 
Independent. ISSN 0731-5198. 
©Foundation for Independent Video and Film, Inc. 
1985 

AIVF/FIVF STAFF MEMBERS: Lawrence Sapadin. 
executive director; Robert Aaronson, festival direc- 
tor; Deborah Erickson, administrative assistant; An- 
drea Estepa, membership services; Debra Goldman, 
screenings & seminars; Mary Guzzy, administrative 
director; Sol Horwitz. Short Film Showcase project ad- 
ministrator; Susan Linfield, Short Film Showcase ad- 
ministrative assistant. 

AIVF/FIVF BOARDS OF DIRECTORS: Robert Richter. 
president; William Greaves, vice president; Lillian 
Jimenez, chair; Barton Weiss, secretary; Pearl Bowser; 
St. Clair Bourne; Christine Choy; Loni Ding' Peter 
Kinoy; Howard Petrick Lawrence Sapadin (ex of- 
ficio); Richard Schmiechen. 

JUNE 1985 



CONTENTS 

FEATURES 

lO Panels and Portions: Independents and the Program 
Fund 

by Susan Linfield 

|4 Video, Technology, and the Educated Artist 

by Catherine Lord 

\J The Revolution Will be Televised 

by Renee Taj i ma 

2 LETTERS 

3 MEDIA CLIPS 

Cable in the Courtroom: First Amendment Argued in 
L.A. and Miami 

...And Access Upheld in Rhode Island 

by Debra Goldman 

Video Data Bank's Stock Exchange 

Mondo Condo 

by Renee Tajima 

Sino-Cinema Summit 
Indie Pix to CBS/Fox Homevid 
San Jose Station Defunded 
NEH Nomination 
NYSCA Budget Boosted 

8 IN FOCUS 

Film-to-Tape: Which Element to Transfer? Part II 

by David Leitner 

20 FESTIVALS 

Turino: Young at Heart 

by Paul Smart 

Locarno Video: Experiencing Technical Difficulties 

by Barbara Osborn 

In Brief 

24 IN AND OUT OF PRODUCTION 

by Mary Guzzy and Deborah Erickson 

26 NOTICES 

32 MEMORANDA 



COVER: The revolution may be televised after all-at least on your home VCR. Progressive 
videomakers like Tami Gold and Lyn Goldfarb, who produced the tape "From Bedside to 
Bargaining Table," now relay their organizing messages through home cassettes. 
Photo: Tami Gold and Lyn Goldfarb 



THE INDEPENDENT 1 



LETTERS 



To the editor: 

NVTien Lucinda Furlong writes that the broadcast 
standard is ever -changing and that artists are at 
its mercy ("Getting High Tech: The 'New Televi- 
sion,'" March 1985], she seems to ignore the 
evolutionary' forces that brought us chisels and 
oil paint. The broadcast standard is progressing, 
predictably, toward the impossible goal of 
perfect video. The "eyeball factor" is more a 
measure of the current grammar in a rapidly de- 
veloping language than any whim or caprice. 
That artists want and need to experiment with 
the tools of the medium is natural. That they 
want to reach as many people as possible is also 
natural. That tools are changing rapidly and 
costs are spiralling is also a normal part of social 
evolution. 

The broadcast industry has enabled the devel- 
opment of virtually every' new tool since the wire 
recorder, and made them available to anyone 
who can use them to make new and interesting 
work. Dean Winkler and John Sanborn's A ctHI 
offers evidence of the desire of the video service 
industry to stretch the potential of their in- 
vestments. To stay on the leading edge of video 
technology while maintaining a viable business is 
a tricky challenge. 

As someone working in the medium, I am 
glad that the industry has invented computerized 




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editing and digital manipulation. The broadcast 
business has created an environment where proj- 
ects that 10 years ago would have required 
superhuman politicking and grant-begging are 
now relatively simple and cheap. 

Furlong's assertion that this evolution has 
made video less accessible is only true for those 
people who buy equipment. Rental prices for 
better quality equipment are falling, often 
dramatically. Most production houses find that 
the competitive nature of their business forces 
them to consider alternative arrangements with 
their clients in order to find new markets for their 
services. This makes state-of-the-art quality 
available to creative and persistent artists. I have 
found business and marketing people more 
reasonable and cooperative and likely to seek 
mutually beneficial arrangements than govern- 
ment bureaucrats. 

In the end, the question of elitist or populist 
media is moot — as are debates over crude or 
slick, cheap or expensive. The "name of the 
game" is creative personal expression. The ex- 
tent to which each of us makes the effort to make 
our expressions available is a question of how we 
spend our most valuable resource: ourselves. 

As for "changing television," the home 
cassette market is the current frontier, which ex- 
ists because of the investments of the broadcast 
market and its suppliers and the market 
economics that support technological evolution. 
It is available to all of us who choose to get in- 



volved. Whether we are producing sensitive 
documents of human suffering or instructional 
tapes for rock-and-roll guitar, high tech is 
creating more choices and more options for all of 
us . —Patrick Gregston 

Mar Vista, CA 
Lucinda Furlong replies: 
One of my purposes in writing about the "new 
television" was to show how much of the rhe- 
toric on this subject is rife with contradictions 
and cannot sustain close scrutiny. However, 
Gregston 's letter raises other issues that need to 
be addressed. He implies that to criticize the 
broadcast industry is to bite the hand that feeds. 
How dare artists be so ungrateful? 

How can Gregston be so uncritical? His 
defense of the industry is based on a determinist 
view that technology is a neutral force unto itself 
that develops in a linear, natural way, creating 
new and better opportunities for everyone. This 
concept of technological progress as liberatory 
ignores the fact that the broadcast industry is en- 
tirely undemocratic. To say that this industry, in 
its beneficence, has made "virtually every tool" 
available to any creative person is simply untrue. 
The promise and subsequent betrayal of public 
access cable TV provides proof. 

Finally, I never said that video technology has 
become less accessible as it has improved. My 
point was that, no matter what the state-of-the- 
art might be at any given time, access to it always 
remains just beyond reach. 



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2 THE INDEPENDENT 



JUNE 1985 



MEDIA CLIPS 



CABLE IN THE COURTOOM: 

FIRST AMENDMENT ARGUED IN LA AND MIAMI 



"KEY COURT RULING BACKS FIRST 
AMENDMENT RIGHTS FOR CABLE TV 
OPERATORS," trumpeted the headline of the 
cable industry trade weekly Multi-Channel 
News. "CABLE CLAIMS FIRST AMEND- 
MENT VICTORY," declared Broadcasting 
magazine. The occasion for this jubilation was a 
March 1 decision by a three-judge panel of the 
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in a 
case that pitted a cable operator, Preferred 
Communications, against the City of Los 
Angeles. Preferred sued the city, challenging its 
right to grant an exclusive franchise, and the 
judges unanimously decided that the city cannot 
deny a cable system access to public facilities 
which can accommodate it. To do so, the court 
ruled, would violate the First Amendment. The 
panel thus overturned a lower court decision to 
dismiss the suit. 

The magic words "First Amendment" trig- 
gered a flurry of self-congratulatory press 
releases from the industry, all echoing James 
Mooney, president of the National Cable Tel- 
evision Association, who declared that the deci- 
sion "is yet another nail in the coffin of cable 
regulation." Particularly ecstatic was Preferred's 
California law firm, Farrow, Schildhaus, Wilson 
& Rains, which, over the past few years, has col- 
lected some tidy fees from a nationwide roster of 
cable clients who have challenged municipal 
franchising authorities. The Los Angeles deci- 
sion is the first time the firm's First Amendment 
argument hit paydirt, and the lawyers quickly 
claimed that they had dealt a mortal blow to 
franchise regulation. 

"The cable industry is making far, far too 
much of this case," countered Michael Meyer- 
son, professor of communications law at the 
University of Baltimore. "I think the cable in- 
dustry will wake up and find that the Los 
Angeles decision will cause more problems than 
it solves." 

In the decision, restricting access to public fa- 
culties was compared "to allowing the govern- 
ment discretion to grant permits for the opera- 
tion of newspaper vending machines located on 
public streets only to the newspaper that 'best' 
serves the community, a practice we find clearly 
invalid." While this analogy was particularly 
sweet music to the ears of the cable operators, 
who have sought full First Amendment rights as 
owners of "electronic newspapers," Meyerson 
believes the remark fell far short of legally 
substantiating the industry's hopes. "Most of 
the discussion treated cable differently [from 
newspapers]," he said. "This decision may mean 

JUNE 1985 



that two cable companies will be able to compete 
in the same area. But it doesn't mean the city 
doesn't have the right to regulate two cable com- 
panies." 

The panel did address the larger regulatory 
question in a footnote to its 42-page decision. 
While the court claimed that franchising re- 
quirements, as called for in last year's Cable 
Telecommunications Act, "pose particularly 
troublesome constitutional questions," it ex- 
plicitly declined to decide those questions. This 
refusal, argued Thomas Rogers, counsel to the 
House telecommunications subcommittee, may 
have strengthened the legitimacy of franchise re- 
quirements "because the court had every oppor- 
tunity to strike them down and didn't." 

The precise character of the court's ruling has 
been obscured by the industry ballyhoo. The 
panel ruled solely on whether Preferred's lawsuit 
against Los Angeles should go to trial. Much of 
the city's argument was not admissible in this ap- 
peal action. "We are not devastated by this," 
said Edward Perez, the deputy city attorney who 
tried the case for Los Angeles. "It's not a sweep- 
ing victory, as the cable industry is claiming." 
City officials felt strongly that in a trial, Los 
Angeles's franchising authority would be vindi- 
cated. The city now has three options: to appeal 
the case before a full panel of Ninth Circuit 
judges, to appeal directly to the U.S. Supreme 
Court, or to try the case in district court. 

Three weeks after the Ninth Circuit decision in 
California, the Eleventh Circuit of the U.S. 
Court of Appeals upheld a lower court decision 
which had struck down a Miami ordinance regu- 
lating transmission of "indecent material" on 
cable. The case was brought against Miami by a 
consumer who wanted to subscribe to the Play- 
boy Channel. Again, industry representatives 
claimed the ruling as a victory. Said John Red- 
path, senior vice-president and general counsel 
of Home Box Office, "We are extremely grat- 
ified that a unanimous court of appeals agrees 
with us that cable television is entitled to full First 
Amendment rights." 

In the Miami decision, the court asserted that 
cable was distinct from broadcast. It ruled that a 
U.S. Supreme Court decision that the content of 
a broadcast could, under certain circumstances, 
be regulated, did not apply to cable. The 
Supreme Court had argued that because broad- 
cast is a "pervasive" medium, which intrudes on 
the privacy of home and property, the FCC 
could impose sanctions on those stations sending 
"offensive" language over the airwaves. But the 
Miami panel argued that cable was not pervasive 



in the same way: a consumer "must affirmative- 
ly select to have cable service come into his 
home" and "must make a monthly decision 
whether to continue to subscribe to cable." 

In contrast to the Los Angeles case, Meyerson 
has no quarrel with the outcome of the Miami 
decision, noting, "I think it's in the public in- 
terest to have the minimum amount of censor- 
ship in cable." He also welcomed drawing a 
distinction between cable and broadcast. In the 
past, Meyerson admitted, public interest 
theorists used the principles of broadcast regula- 
tion as a justification for cable regulation. But he 
said the "new wave of public interest thinking" 
on the subject claims that cable "is not like 
broadcast and it's not like newspapers. It's a lit- 
tle like a telephone and a lot like itself." Accord- 
ing to this argument, the First Amendment ques- 
tions surrounding cable should be determined 
not by analogy, but through an analysis of the 
unique nature of the cable medium. No court 
has ruled decisively on this larger question. 
"These cases are just skirmishes," Meyerson in- 
sisted; the big battles, to be fought on Supreme 
Court turf, are still to come . — Debra Goldman 

. . .AND ACCESS 
UPHELD IN RHODE ISLAND 

So you thought the regulation questions sur- 
rounding cable were settled when Congress pass- 
ed the Cable Telecommunications Act last year? 
You believed that the cable industry meant it 
when its representatives said they wanted 
clarification of the rules of the game so they 
could conduct their business in a more orderly 
fashion? As the courtroom dramas in Los An- 
geles and Miami [see above] demonstrate, the 
battle over wire rights continues. Not every legal 
decision, however, ends in a First Amendment 
triumph for the cable business. 

In late February, the Supreme Court of 
Rhode Island ruled that the Rhode Island Divi- 
sion of Public Utilities has statutory power to 
impose access requirements on the state's cable 
operators. Current DPU regulations require a 
minimum of seven government, educational, 
and public access channels on every 35-channel 
system. Another access channel must be added 
for every additional five channels provided by 
the operator. The case was brought three years 
ago by Berkshire Cablevision, a would-be fran- 
chise for Newport County. Although Berkshire 
raised the First Amendment flag, hoping ihese 
requirements would be dismissed as unconstitu- 
tional, and despite the lack of specific rules pro- 

THE INDEPENDENT 3 



viding the DPU with authority in such matters, 
the court ruled that "regulations designed to pre- 
vent public harm through the exploitation of a 
monopoly medium clearly fall within this statu- 
tory authority." The word "monopoly" was 
greeted with as much glee by public interest ad- 
vocates as the words "First Amendment" 
generate among cable operators. 

The Rhode Island story', to be sure, did not 
make the front page of the cable trade press. And 
access supporters should be aware that this de- 
cision is no more definitive than the others 
that have come through the courts thus far. 
But this may be the case that determines the 
regulatory issue: it is expected to reach the 
Supreme Court. — DG 



VIDEO DATA BANK'S 
STOCK EXCHANGE 

In today's funding climate, which encourages 
the synergism of grant money and earned in- 
come, new programs and services are key to non- 
profit institutions' survival. In Chicago, the 
Video Data Bank is definitely on a growth curve. 
Attached to the School of the Art Institute of 
Chicago, the Data Bank first made a name for it- 
self as producer, collector, and distributor of the 
videotape interview series "On Art and Artists." 
In the last couple of years, the Data Bank en- 
larged its list to include experimental video 
art — with considerable financial success. This 



year it is expanding in two directions: absorbing 
into its collection video "classics," and venturing 
into the home cassette market. 

For the video art classics, the Data Bank has 
struck a deal with Castelli/Sonnabend Tapes 
and Films, the New York art dealers who, in the 
late sixties, snared the work of established visual 
artists working in video, such as William 
Wegman, Bruce Nauman, Lynda Benglis, and 
Robert Rauschenberg. But illusions about 
the existence of collectors eager to buy tapes as 
"art objects" were quickly dispelled. The video 
distribution system that developed in the seven- 
ties grew into a far different enterprise from the 
art business, and Castelli/Sonnabend never 
quite mastered it. Most of their artists have long 
since dropped out of video. In addition, critics 
and historians eager to view this early work often 
had difficulties gaining access to it. And, over 
time, changing technology played tricks on the 
Castelli collection: the Vi " reel-to-reel equip- 
ment on which much of this pioneering work 
was recorded has become obsolete. Lucinda 
Furlong, curatorial assistant at the Whitney 
Museum's film and video department, says that 
"some of the V* " submasters we got from 
Castelli had technical problems — signal prob- 
lems, drop out, glitches — but most older tapes 
have those kind of problems." The techniques 
for preserving these tapes on high quality 
masters exist, but they come with a high price 
tag. 

When Lyn Blumenthal, co-director of the 




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Data Bank, suggested that the Chicago center 
restore these tapes, the Castelli people were in- 
terested. The resulting arrangement gives the Data 
Bank exclusive, three-year distribution rights to 16 
hours of tapes made from 1968-1973, including 
work by Nauman, Vito Acconci, Joan Jonas, 
Paul Kos, and Lawrence Weiner. The Data Bank 
will transfer the Vi " masters to 1 ", "keeping the 
specs in alignment so they can eventually be 
transferred to disc," Blumenthal explained. The 
project's budget is $21,000; Blumenthal is seek- 
ing an $8,000 grant from the American Film In- 
stitute's National Center for Film and Video 
Preservation. Should this money materialize, the 
Data Bank plans to match it with earned income 
and funds from institutional coffers. "All nor- 
mal distribution payments will be deferred until 
the costs have been covered," she explained. In 
addition to exclusive three-year rights to the 
restored tapes, the Data Bank will also distribute 
most of Castelli's remaining catalogue on a non- 
exclusive basis. The tapes will also continue to be 
available at Castelli/Sonnabend. 

Even as the Data Bank is easing these video art 
oldies back into broader distribution, it is turn- 
ing its attention to home video. Early this spring, 
the National Endowment for the Arts awarded 
the organization $10,000 to develop Vi " cassette 
packages for this booming market. Blumenthal 
hopes this seed money, which will pay for the 
early stages of developing an initial six-tape pro- 
gram, will ultimately yield an ongoing venture in 
"video publishing." 

What, other than the physical transfer of tape 
from one format to another, turns art videotape 
into a home cassette? Blumenthal's answer is 
packaging. "There's no market for tapes per 
se," she said. The trick, she insists, is placing 
tapes into a broader program of interest to a 
targetable market. The first series slated for 
publication is tentatively titled, "What Does She 
Want?" "Individual tapes will not be the selling 
point. The series will cover a whole range of cur- 
rent women's issues: language and representa- 
tion, sexuality, women's work." Data Bank 
plans an initial edition of 1 ,000 copies. "I know 
there are 1 ,000 people out there interested in col- 
lecting programs like this," Blumenthal says. 
"These tapes will not just fit tidily in the 
academic market, but will appeal to people who 
read Ms. magazine, to doctors and lawyers." Se- 
lections reflect this need to attract the disposable 
income set: alongside experimental video works, 
the package will emphasize less esoteric forms of 
information, such as interviews taken from the 
"On Art and Artists" tapes. 

Video Data Bank will rely on direct sales; in- 
dividual tapes will cost $60, with series 
subscribers getting six tapes for the price of five. 
There will be no rentals. The Data Bank has not 
ruled out the possibility of placing the series in 
video stores, but it is not yet ready to expend 
much effort on that approach. "I don't think 
there will be a market there until home video 



THE INDEPENDENT 



JUNE 1985 




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From Bruce Nauman's "Art Makeup No. 1, White," a Castelli tape that the Video Data Bank 
will restore and distribute. 

Courtesy Castelli/Sonnobend 



becomes much more specialized. There may be a 
New Video store selling art tapes in New York, 
but there isn't one in Akron, Ohio," Blumenthal 
said. 

So far, the Data Bank has not yet signed con- 
tracts with the artists whose tapes will appear in 
the series. But, Blumenthal says, "Since in- 
dividual works are not the selling point, each ar- 
tist will receive equal points in the entire series." 
It will be published under the label First Genera- 
tion Tapes, an entity which, if successful, even- 
tually will be incorporated as a profit-making 
concern. The target date for the release of the 
women's series is January 1986, and a second 
series is on the drawing board for March of that 
year. 

First Generation hopes to become the pub- 
lisher of programs that originate outside the 
Data Bank. But Blumenthal is aware that all the 
market research in the world will not secure 
video publishing status as a going concern until 
"home video has an infrastructure, like the book 
publishing world or the movie world." Yet as 
Data Bank's venture into home casssette shows, 
the organization is betting on the future of video 
"literacy." — DG 

MONDO CONDO 

New York has devised a solution to the Manhat- 
tan space crunch for arts groups — help them 
move out of the area. Under the new Industrial 
Relocation and Retention Program, performing 
arts groups and visual artist working spaces 
qualify, along with industrial businesses, for a 
relocation incentive program. The IRR en- 
courages groups to move from the city's gentri- 



fying areas — below 96th Street in Manhattan, 
Long Island City, and the Fulton Ferry section of 
Brooklyn — to anywhere in Manhattan above 
96th Street, or the outer boroughs. Organiza- 
tions may be eligible for moving costs of up to 
$100,000 and leasehold improvements. 

A number of arts groups are facing a 
move — more often a matter of necessity than 
choice. But for those with neighborhood ties, no 
amount of relocation reimbursements will do. 
"A group like ours— a community organiza- 
tion — can't just move," says Matt Seig, a 
member of Films Charas, which runs screenings 
in the once "undesirable" and now marketable 
Lower East Side of Manhattan. Is IRR an instru- 
ment of gentrification? "You can say that," says 
Pearl Bowser of Third World Newsreel, who has 
been researching a move for the organization in 
anticipation of rocketing rents. "Or you can say 
it's creating jobs and industries in other 
boroughs." 

The City's Office of the Not-For-Profit Sec- 
tor, which runs the IRR, provides other services 
to groups seeking to relocate or expand any- 
where in New York City, such as a computerized 
Space Bank with listings of privately-owned 
space in all the boroughs, including excess space 
for subletting or sharing, and information on 
city-owned buildings, zoning, land use, and 
other regulations. It also helps arrange for low- 
cost financing for the acquisition and/or renova- 
tion of real estate and equipment, and assists 
groups in dealing with other government agencies. 

City arts groups need all the help they can get 
to keep afloat — but they also need to stay an- 
chored in the very neighborhoods they pioneered 
in building. — Renee Tajima 




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THE INDEPENDENT 



SINO-CINEMA SUMMIT 

Last April, on the road with the American Film 
Institute-sponsored national tour of China Film 
Week II, the People's Republic of China official 
delegation met with a group of Asian American 
independents in New York City's Chinatown. 
The meeting was arranged by the national com- 
mittee on U.S. -China Relations and Apple TV, 
a local Chinese-language cable program. 
Members of the delegation, which included the 
film director Xie Fei and Chi Xi Dao, deputy 
director of the Shanghai Film Studio, wanted to 
know more about independent and Asian 
American filmmaking, of which they had sur- 
prisingly little knowledge, according to Nancy 
Tong of Apple — although they did know of 
Wayne Wang's Chan Is Missing, which has been 
broadcast over PRC state television. 

China Film Week II is part of a bilateral ex- 
change of five films from each country. How- 
ever, U.S. entries, chosen by the Chinese 
themselves, are all studio-produced: On Golden 
Pond, Coal Miner's Daughter, The Turning 
Point, Star Wars, and Kramer vs. Kramer. 
Despite the close emotional ties many Asian 
American filmmakers have for post-revolution- 
ary China, none of their works have made it to 
the mainland. The delegation did express interest 
in bringing a retrospective of Asian American 
films to China. If so, Asian American film- 
makers who have, according to independent 
producer Yuet Fung Ho, targeted their works for 
a minority audience, may have a chance to reach 
an audience that is measured in the hundreds of 
millions. — RT 

INDIE PIX TO 
CBS/FOX HOMEVID 

CBS Fox/Video has acquired its first U.S. in- 
dependent features, including Jim Jarmusch's 
Stranger Than Paradise, Gregory Nava's El 
Norte, and John Sayles's The Brother from 
Another Planet. Amos Poe's first studio film, 
Alphabet City, was also acquired. According to 
creative affairs director Leon Falk, the films 
were seen at festivals or private screenings and 
were picked up before their theatrical releases. 
CBS Fox will market the films under one of three 
lines — CBS Fox/Video, Key Video, or Play- 
house Video — and will give them separate pro- 
motional campaigns . — R T 

SAN JOSE STATION 
DEFUNDED 

The Santa Clara County (California) Board of 
Education has dealt a serious financial blow to 
KTEH, the San Jose public television affiliate 
that has been notable for its substantial work 
with independent producers. Last February, in 
an attempt to balance its books, the board voted 
to cut $780,000 from KTEH's allocation— 25 

JUNE 1985 




Jim Jarmusch's "Stranger Than Paradise" is one of the independent films picked up by 
CBS/Fox Home Video. 

Courtesy Samuel Goldwyn 



percent of the station's operating budget. The 
station responded with an emergency fundrais- 
ing campaign that netted over $200,000 in one 
week, but must now try to expand its regular 
contributions to compensate for the loss in an- 
nual income. 

Will the cuts affect KTEH's commitment to 
collaborations with independents? According to 
executive producer Peter Baker, if the station 
can maintain its production capability, it "will 
continue to work with independents, if not more 
than before." Currently, KTEH is producing a 
documentary with Dorothy Fadiman about the 
Peninsula School in Menlo Park, California and 
developing Berkeley in the '60s with Mark Kit- 
chell, The Porning of America with Harriet 
Koskoff, and a major series on bio-technology 
and genetic engineering, The Second Spiral, with 
Jan Kraepelain. 

KTEH's financial straits may be somewhat 
alleviated by the challenge grant it recently 
received from the National Endowment for the 
Humanities. But the station will have to meet 
stringent matching requirements in order to 
qualify for grant dollars. — R T 



NEH NOMINATION 

Edward A. Curran, deputy director of the Peace 
Corps, has been nominated to succeed William 
Bennett as chair of the National Endowment for 
the Humanities. 

Curran surfaced in the news three years ago 
when he was dismissed from his job as director 
of the National Institute of Education, a major 
federal research agency, as part of the early 

JUNE 1985 



Reagan Administration's Department of Educa- 
tion shake-up. According to the New York 
Times [June 22, 1982], Curran was dismissed by 
former Secretary of Education T.H. Bell 
because he had gone over the secretary's head 
and proposed to Reagan that the Institute be 
abolished. Conservative think tanks such as the 
Heritage Foundation have long called for the 
abolition of the DOE and its related agencies. 

The Times reports that while at the NIE, Cur- 
ran had introduced a number of conservative re- 
form ideas for possible funding by the Institute, 
including "school vouchers, tuition tax credits, 
home instruction and 'freedom from excessive 
mandates and prohibitions enforced by Federal 
and state agencies.'" Before coming to the NIE, 
Curran was a volunteer in the 1980 Reagan-Bush 
campaign and had been headmaster of the Na- 
tional Cathedral School, an exclusive girls' 
school in New York. 

At press time, no Congressional review hear- 
ings on Curran's nomination had been scheduled. 
Curran was not available for comment . — R T 



NYSCA BUDGET 
BOOSTED 

The New York State legislature has voted a 
$41,095,000 appropriation to the New York 
State Council on the Arts — $3-million more than 
was requested by the Council. Two million 
dollars of the increase is slated for a new arts 
education program. The remaining $1 -million 
will be spent on Local Assistance, Folk Arts, 
Decentralization, and LIFT programs. Last 
year's arts budget was $35. 3-million. — RT 



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IN FOCUS 



FILM-TO-TAPE: WHICH ELEMENT TO TRANSFER? 
PART II 



David Leitner 



A color print distorts the scale of densities 
recorded on negative, flattening highlight detail 
and extending the darkest shadow densities 
beyond the range that the flying-spot telecine can 
reproduce [see "In Focus: Which Element to 
Transfer? Part I," April 1985]. Inasmuch as the 
telecine faithfully reproduces what is fed into it, 
the result is: distortion in, distortion out. 

Original negative, on the other hand, obtains 
a linear recording of at least eight f-stops. 
"Linear" means that the ordering of brightness- 
es in the real world is preserved as a propor- 
tionate scale of densities on the negative. When 
color negative is fed into the telecine, the image 
on the monitor reveals shadow detail that is scaled 
in brightness to midtone and highlight detail 
much as the eye would see it. The result is decid- 
edly true-to-life, unlike the video transfer from 
print, which resembles the real world as seen 
through one of those murky viewing glasses that 
some cinematographers use to predict screen 
contrast. 

Pan I of "Which Element to Transfer?" con- 
cluded with the suggestion that an alternative 
transfer element to color print is the master 
positive, a special fine-grain, first-generation 
positive from which a second-generation dupli- 
cate negative is meant to be printed. Since a 
master positive is never directly projected, most 
filmmakers are probably unacquainted with its 
qualities. Like original negative, it has an overall 
orange appearance due to the presence of a 
corrective "color mask" that nullifies flaws in 
the color filtering of its dye layers. (This tech- 
nique improves saturation and ensures a neutral 
grey scale. A print intended for projection must 
forego such orange color masking in favor of 
some less apparent — less effective? — solution to 
the dilemma of imperfect dyes. The depth of the 
orange color suggests the signficance of these dye 
layer shortcomings.) 

Lack of screen contrast is a second reason the 
master positive is unsuitable for direct projec- 
tion. Both the master positive and subsequent 
duplicate negative are printed on the same film 
stock, Kodak 7243. To duplicate the original 
negative as closely as possible, 7243 in both roles 
must reproduce contrast at a ratio of 1 : 1 . Other- 
wise, distortions in the tonal scale of the original 
negative introduced at the master positive stage 
would be joined by additional distortions at the 
dupe negative stage, and a print from the dupe 
negative could not match an original answer 
print in contrast. Since the orange master posi- 




Color negative image as reproduced by a 7384 answer print (left) and 7243 master positive 
(right). Rendering these examples in black and white neutralizes the orange cast of the 
7243 master positive, leaving only differences in tonal scale reproduction between the two 
film stocks. Note the richer shadow detail of the master positive, e.g., the bookcase in the 
background. While the telecine can restore a pleasing contrast to the master positive im- 
age, it can't restore any lost shadow or highlight detail to the answer print. 

Courtesy DuArt Video/CBS 60 Minutes 



tive reproduces the tonal scale of the original 
negative at unity, in the end it looks like nothing 
so much as the original negative — but with the 
tonalites reversed to form a positive image. 

As with negative, the telecine discards the 
orange color cast of master positive and restores 
a realistic contrast to their image. Since the tonal 
scale distortions characteristic of standard and 
low contrast prints are avoided (project a master 
positive: you'll see shadow detail you never knew 
existed from viewing the answer print), the 
master postive transfer is a virtual match for 
negative in tonal fidelity and color saturation. 

Color Reversal Intermediate, commonly 
known as C.R.I., provides a similar video trans- 
fer quality. This special reversal film, Kodak 
7249, reproduces the original negative in only 
one step. It doesn't convert the negative image to 
positive, but, instead, renders a direct copy of 
the negative. Like the master positive, C.R.I. 
features an orange color mask and reproduces 
the contrast and density of the original negative 



8 THE INDEPENDENT 



at a ratio of 1 : 1 . 

However, like camera reversal films, C.R.I, 
doesn't possess as long a tonal scale, or 
"latitude," as original negative (or, for that mat- 
ter, master positive). How, then, can reversal 
C.R.I, faithfully copy the negative? The key is to 
be found in the low contrast reproduction ratio, 
or "gamma," of color negative. As illustrated in 
Part I, color negative, with its gamma of approx- 
imately .55, translates a real-world brightness 
range of at least eight stops into a density range 
45 percent shorter than that which would obtain 
from a contrast reproduction ratio of 1 : 1 . It is 
this condensed density range that the C.R.I, can 
accommodate, although with little room for er- 
ror. If the laboratory under- or overexposes the 
C.R.I. , either the highlights or shadows as orig- 
inally recorded by the negative will be com- 
pressed and thereby distorted. (The master 
positive, by comparison, can be under- or over- 
exposed one stop with no noticeable tonal de- 
gradation.) To make matters worse , C.R.I, is 

JUNE 1985 



perhaps the most difficult film stock to manu- 
facture and process, and even the best labs be- 
moan the vicissitudes of trying to develop the 
stuff consistently. For instance, the characteris- 
tic curves of the red, green, and blue sensitive 
layers of C.R.I, never seem to parallel; in prac- 
tice, this means that a C.R.I, grey scale displayed 
by the telecine can appear grey in the middle, 
while the shadow tones take on a coloration all 
their own. 

Lest I appear unduly critical of C.R.I., it has 
indeed proved its mettle in 15 years of commer- 
cial use, stemming from a time when color 
negative meant 35mm and professional 16mm 
knew only reversal . But the very nature of C . R. I . 
makes likely the accumulation of many small er- 
rors in sensitometry and process control — not to 
mention printing — often resulting in a contrasty 
image compared to the original, or even to the 
dupe negative from the master positive. The 
tonal scale often appears curtailed at both ends, 
and colors, though seemingly deeper because 
of increased color contrast, look less subtle and 
pure. Again, to be fair, there are proponents of 
this "look" who defend C.R.I, both for the pro- 
jected image and video transfer. 

And what of the second-generation negative 
made from the transfer positive? In video 
transfer, it's essentially a ringer for the master 
positive, but with expected generational losses. 
Since it involves two contact printing steps, there 
is a slight contrast build-up, as contrastiness ac- 
companies contact printing, and there is an addi- 
tional loss of sharpness. It is the second condi- 
tion that usually proves more signficant, for 
unless the dupe negative incorporates optical ef- 
fects or titles that can't be replicated in video, it is 
the master positive with its better definition that 
will be chosen for transfer. 

Why are fine differences in definition between 
two generations of 16mm detected upon transfer 
to NTSC video, a medium of somewhat lower 
definition? Either the differences in definition 
between two film generations are not so small, or 
NTSC video can muster an image with notice- 
ably more resolution that we're led to expect. In 
fact, both are true. 

In the contact printing of motion picture film, 
the negative and unexposed raw stock (print, 
master positive, C.R.I., etc.) are joined emul- 
sion-to-emulsion and partially wrapped around 
a large sprocket. The image-bearing negative lies 
directly against the sprocket and the unexposed 
raw stock lies on top of the negative. A small 
window under the negative passes the light 
necessary for exposure, while the sprocket ad- 
vances the two strands of film at a high rate of 
speed. Just as the racetrack horse on the inside 
runs the shorter distance, the negative against the 
sprocket travels a shorter distance than the raw 
stock on the outside. To compensate, 16mm 
print raw stock perforations are spaced .0006" 
further apart than negative perforations. In 
theory, this additional pitch between positive 



perforations equals the extra distance traveled by 
the outer strand. That is, if the sprocket is 
perfectly formed, the alignment of the printing 
machine faultless, the necessary film tensions ac- 
curate, the rate of shrinkage of the positive from 
processing precisely as predicted, age and at- 
mospheric conditions notwithstanding . . . 

These ideal conditions at the printing 
machine's sprocket are never fully met, and no 
attempt has been made to similarly modify the 
perforation spacing of 16mm master positive, 
dupe negative, or C.R.I, raw stocks. Therefore, 
a microscopic amount of slippage routinely en- 
sues between the negative and the raw stock dur- 
ing exposure, as each frame of raw stock travel- 
ing at the greater radius attempts to slide back 
onto each new sprocket tooth in order to match 
the position of each negative frame. This unfor- 
tunate phenomenon (and others like it, depen- 
ding on the overall condition of the printing 
machine) serves to deprive the duplicated 16mm 
image of the very finest level of detail recorded 
on the negative. While the results are quite ac- 
ceptable commercially — and have been since the 
inception of 16mm — it's a shame that after all 
the testing of lenses and cameras and agonizing 
over film stock resolving powers, the truly fine 
differences in definition can be lost in the wash. 

How do we ever know how sharp the image on 
the negative is? At best, we view it once removed, 
judging it on the evidence of a contact print, our 
instrument of inspection a projector with, at 
best, a dubious maintenance history. (And 
anyhow, what projector mechanism matches the 
registration of an Aaton or Arri, what projector 
lens the clarity of a multicoated Zeiss distagon?) 
Unless we examine the negative directly, we can't 
know what's on it. 

Ironically, we have go to video to see what's 
on our film original. Only in film-to-tape 
transfer can the negative be imaged directly, the 
orange color mask removed and the tonal scale 
reversed from negative to positive. And the 
results are always striking. Compared to the 
same image transferred from print, the direct 
negative image is crisp and clear, as if a veil had 
been lifted. In a close head shot, for instance, 
strands of hair are countable, wrinkles discern- 
able, and what was a dull highlight on the print is 
now a colorful sparkle in the eye. In a word, life- 
like. 

If the flying-spot scanner were no more so- 
phisticated than the standard schoolroom pro- 
jector, the fine definition of original negative 
might go unexploited. Fortunately, the flying- 
spot banished the projector-aimed-at-video 
camera film-chain almost a decade ago. (That is, 
for NTSC. Flying-spot scanners have been a 
common fixture in European TV stations since 
World War II.) Fortunately ... because the 
saticon and plumbicon tubes featured in profes- 
sional video cameras impose their own limita- 
tions on resolution, image geometry, and 
dynamic range flength and linearity of tonal 



scale reproduction) — limitations not intrinsic to 
the NTSC signal itself. 

The flying-spot scanner doesn't use these 
camera pick-up tubes; instead, it projects onto 
each frame of film a pinpoint of light that rapidly 
traces the familiar raster pattern of TV lines. On 
the reverse side of the film, three photosensitive 
devices akin to incident light meters measure the 
levels of red, green, and blue light that are 
filtered by the film's color emulsion at each point 
in the trajectory of the "flying spot." From this 
color and positional information, a video signal 
is fashioned. 

Unlike the three-tube video camera, no color 
registration is required, since the dye layers of the 
film are permanently registered. Horizontal 
resolution, a function of the minutenesss of the 
flying spot, challenges the resolving power of the 
film itself, sometimes with the unwanted side ef- 
fect of reproducing the film graininess too acute- 
ly. (The Rank Cintel flying-spot scanner incor- 
porates a filter to keep its output within the limits 
of NTSC bandwidth.) And by avoiding conven- 
tional video camera pick-up tubes with their 40: 1 
contrast limit, the flying-spot scanner can 
reproduce a 150: 1 contrast ratio — and, by sacri- 
ficing signal-to-noise, upwards of a 500:1 con- 
trast ratio. Combine these performance char- 
acteristics with those of color negative — a real- 
world contrast ratio of 256: 1 , eight stops, record- 
ed linearly but condensed 45 percent (logarith- 
mically) to form a low density image with a con- 
trast of 21 : 1 , with enough resolution to sustain a 
blow-up to 35mm if desired — and it might ap- 
pear that 16mm negative and the flying-spot 
scanner hand-in-hand make a superior video 
camera! 

Most of the films we've seen on TV or as video 
have been transferred from prints: all the filmed 
Hollywood TV serials that we grew up with in 
the sixties and seventies, for instance. Therefore, 
it's quite possible that the so-called "film look" 
signifies nothing more than the tonal distortion 
exacted by the requirements of projection con- 
trast coupled with the loss of fine, high- 
frequency detail inherent in duplicating film as 
film. Perhaps it would be more accurate to speak 
of the "film-print look." And many are indeed 
enamored of this look: tight-fisted producers 
every day choose the expense of film production 
over video in quest of it. But as it becomes clear 
that original negative is superbly suited to film- 
to-tape transfer — that it still looks like film, but 
with greatly enhanced color, sharpness, and real- 
ism — expectations regarding the mythical look 
of film will undoubtedly rise on the part of pro- 
ducers and audiences alike. 

So why do producers continue to transfer an- 
swer prints, or C.R.I.s, or master positives, 
when the original A&B rolls of color negative are 
at hand? Stay tuned. 

David Leitner works at DuArt Film Labs and 
DuArt Video in New York. 

©David Leitner 1985 



JUNE 1985 



THE INDEPENDENT 





ANELS AND IORTIO 

INDEPENDENTS AND THE 



Susan Linfield 



Last March, Congressman Henry A. Waxman 
(D-Cal.) wrote a two-page letter to Ron Hull, 
director of the Program Fund at the Corpora- 
tion for Public Broadcasting. It read in part: 

"I am writing to let you know of my con- 
cern over the relationship between the Cor- 
poration for Public Broadcasting and in- 
dependent producers . . . 

"Of particular concern to me is the 
apparent discontinuation of the original 
peer panel review process. As I understand 
it, this process allowed peer readers to 
shortlist proprosals in making selections. 
Today, CPB staff, in consu'tation with 
PBS, eliminate over 80 percert of all pro- 
posals. Panels then cut this number by as 
much as half, and final awards are deter- 
mined by the Program Fund's director and 
staff... 

"Unfortunately, it now appears the 
panel process has been weakened even fur- 
ther by your recent announcement that at 
least four of the nine positions on the panel 
would be guaranteed to public television 
personnel. I am concerned that salaried 
personnel not have a disproportionate in- 
fluence in awarding the national produc- 
tion funds. Moreover, the seating of so 
many station employees may conflict with 
the statutory requirement that proposals be 
evaluated on the basis of comparative merit 
by 'panels of outside experts' ..." 

Has the peer panel process at CPB been under- 
mined? And if so, what is the effect on indepen- 

lO THE INDEPENDENT 




"I Promise to Remember: The Story of Frankie Lyman" was funded by CPB for the "Matters of 
Life and Death" series. At that time, CPB could still say that one of its priorities was support 
for "smaller" independents who might not have achieved national recognition. 

GxrtesyPBS 



dent access to CPB funds, and on the types of 
programs that reach the air? 



The use of review panels was mandated by the 
1978 Telecommunications Act. The act author- 
ized the Corporation to facilitate "diversity, 
creativity, excellence and innovation" in pro- 
gramming, and to allocate a "substantial" por- 
tion of its funds to independents. It also stated 
that, "to the extent practicable, proposals 
. . . shall be evaluated ... by panels of outside ex- 
perts, representing diverse interests and perspec- 
tives, appointed by the Corporation ..." A 
House report accompanying the legislation 
directed the Fund to seek out "the smaller in- 
dependent organizations and individuals who, 
while talented, may not yet have received na- 
tional recognition." And in "Program Fund 
Priorities and Procedures," a 1980 paper written 
for (and approved by) the CPB board of direc- 
tors, Lewis Freedman, the Fund's first director, 



wrote, "The Program Fund must be open to 
proposals that defy description . . . While taking 
full advantage of the expertise of the panel 
system, the final decision-making process must 
always allow for the most creative, original, un- 
predictable, and seemingly nutty idea." 

For the early Program Fund series, such as 
Crisis to Crisis and Matters of Life and Death, 
each proposal was read by three independent 
(that is, non-CPB) readers; if any two said yes, 
the proposal was passed on to an advisory panel, 
with Freedman making the final decision. "It 
took a lot of time," says Gene Katt, deputy 
director of the Program Fund. "It was a pro- 
tracted process, but it seemed to work well." 

But approximately two years ago, Katt says, 
"we decided to do away with readers." He ex- 
plained that, prior to making this decision, the 
Fund had experimented with staff review of pro- 
posals, and compared its choices with those of 
the readers; the results, Katt says, were essential- 
ly the same. Now, each proposal is read by one of 

JUNE 1985 



VIS 

PROGRAM FUND 



the Fund's three program officers (instead of by 
three readers), who writes a summary of the 
project which is read by Katt and director Ron 
Hull. "Then," Katt says, "there is a meeting, in 
which each proposal is discussed with the pro- 
gam officer, the director, and myself. Before it's 
turned down or passed on to a panel, the pro- 
gram officer must give concrete reasons as to 
why." 

Katt says the Program Fund staff is "pretty 
knowledgeable about independents. They meet 
with independents in groups, look at their work. 
Over the years they've built up a tremendous 
amount of contact." Don Marbury, program 
officer for cultural and children's programs, 
claims the abandonment of readers had little ef- 
fect on the Program Fund staff. "We read every 
proposal anyhow," he said. 

Some independents agree that the discon- 
tinuation of the reader process has made little 
difference. "I don't have a problem with it," 
says Lillian Jimenez, program officer of the Film 
Fund and chairperson of the board of directors 




At last year's PBS Program Fair In Seattle, 
Ron Hull announced that all Open Solicita- 
tion panels would have at least four station 
representatives. 

Courtesy CPB 
JUNE 1985 



of the Association of Independent Video and 
Filmmakers, who sat on a recent advisory panel 
and has been a reader. But Tony Silver, director 
of Style Wars, which received Program Fund 
money, and also a member of an advisory panel, 
says, " I think the staff is absolutely buried. Talk- 
ing to them on the phone about my own project 
ideas, I would get a sense of total confusion: 'Oh 
yeah, I remember now.' There's an off-the-cuff 
reaction to things that comes from having to deal 
with too much stuff. Whether or not the discon- 
tinuation of readers is fair in theory, I really 
question it in practice." 

Last year, the newly-formed National Coali- 
tion of Independent Public Broadcasting Pro- 
ducers and CPB began negotiations over panel 
procedures and policies. As a result, the Fund in- 
itiated a recall procedure: panelists can now 
review the list of all proposals submitted, and 
send a proposal on to a future panel for 
reconsideration if it has been rejected by the 
staff. Katt says that, so far, only two proposals 
have been sent. But according to Jimenez, the 
recall allowance is not included in the written in- 
structions panelists receive, nor is there any in- 
dication as to why a proposal was rejected (the 
staffs comments are not given to the panelists). 
William Arhos, vice president for programming 
at KLRN-San Antonio and KLRU-Austin, who 
has been on two panels, says, "I looked at the 
list, but it's not anything detailed. I just wasn't 
inclined to take on more [work] . I didn't see any 
proposals that I might have heard of before." 



At the Program Fund Fair in Seattle last Oc- 
tober, Ron Hull announced that, henceforth, all 
Open Solicitation panels would contain at least 
four public television station representatives. 
(Hull claims the panels have nine members each, 
but in fact many have had only eight.) "The sta- 
tions are the consumers," Hull explains. "I'm 
anxious that the programs show up at a good 
time on the PBS schedule. I just wanted to make 
the point that we were going to have station in- 
put." The announcement outraged some 
members of the independent community. Jef- 
frey A. Chester of the Association of California 
Independent Public Television Producers told 



Broadcasting magazine: "It would be one 
thing. . .if [Hull] said, 'Okay, there'll be four 
station people, four independents and one ex- 
pert.' But he is unwilling to make a commitment 
to name a specified number of independents. 
He's only willing to do it for the stations." (In 
negotiations with the National Coalition, Hull 
had previously agreed that a majority of each 
panel would be picked from a pool of experts 
chosen by CPB staff and the Coalition. The 
CPB board of directors, while approving the 
creation of such a pool, rejected the provi- 
sion that its members constitute a majority of 
each panel. The telecommunications newspaper 
Current reported that Hull said his October 
promise to the stations did not have to go before 
the board.) 

The Program Fund insists that the station 
"quota" is not meant to — and will not — harm 
independents. "It was not done to subvert the 
panel process," Katt maintains. "Its purpose is 
to acquaint public television managers with in- 
dependents, and hopefully to develop a better 
reception for independent material. It doesn't do 
us any good to fund independents if they don't 
get shown locally. Public television managers 
don't know independents, and frankly they've 
had some problems with some of the programs. " 
Hull says, "I want to see the stations and in- 
dependent producers get together. In the long 
run, that's the relationship that's really going to 
pay off." 

Panel participants — both independents and 
public television representatives — agree that the 
panels do not disintegrate into bloc voting, and 
have generally favorable things to say about each 
other. "The station people on my panel were 
independent-minded, and interesting," says 
Silver, a member of the June 1984 panel. "They 
were thoughtful. They didn't fit the stereotype 
of station people: they weren't philistines, or 
conservative." KLRU's William Arhos, who 
was on the same panel, called it "pretty amiable. 
I recall only one person diametrically opposed to 
what most of us in public television wanted. I've 
since had communication with three of those in- 
dependents, and one of them visited me when he 
was shooting here in town." Filmmaker Ken 
Burns (Brooklyn Bridge) said the station 
representatives on this panel "were great. It was 

THE INDEPENDENT 11 




As part of the "Crisis to Crisis" series, programs like "Books Under Fire" were reviewed 
through the reader/advisory panel system. 



like camp when you're growing up. They'd say, 
'No one's going to watch this,' and we could tell 
them, 'These people just aren't qualified.' I 
though the process was fabulous. It works to the 
advantage of independents everywhere." Jon 
Rice, special assistant to the president of KQED- 
San Francisco, who was a program manager for 
27 years, says, "What delighted me [about the 
October 1984 panel] was that nobody behaved as 
expected. There was very little bloc voting. As a 
program manager, you try to get people to vote 
as people, not as women, or Samoans, or what- 
ever. We have come a long way toward compro- 
mising with independents, and they with us." 

Nonetheless, various aspects of the panel pro- 
cess — combined with federal cutbacks in fund- 
ing for CPB — have created anxiety among some 
independents. "It really bothered me that, at the 
panel, you could not get them to tell you how 
much the total pie was," says Silver. "So it was 
hard to apportion it." Because panels therefore 
approve more projects than CPB can fund, 
Silver charges that the Fund staff has great 
leeway in deciding which projects actually 
receive money. Hull estimates that 95 percent of 
panel-approved projects receive funding; Katt 
puts the number at 50-70 percent. In addition, 
they estimate that approximately five proposals 
per year that the panels reject receive money 
anyway Oast year, a total of 63 Open Solicitation 
proposals were funded). Grumbled James Day, 
former president of KQED and WNET-New 
York, who has been on two panels, "If you skip 
what happens after the panel makes its recom- 
mendations, I'm satisfied." 

Some producers say that independents 
without name recognition are increasingly shut 
out from serious consideration by the panels. "I 

12 THE INDEPENDENT 



came away with the feeling that the true indepen- 
dent was getting pushed further and further into 
the corner," says Silver. "There is a real caution, 
knowing that the pie is small. You sometimes 
find yourself geting conservative about whether 
a person can pull it off. The person attempting to 
do something for the first time is at a disadvan- 
tage." Jimenez says that, on her panel last 
February, "the public television people didn't 
know who any of the independents were, with 
the exception of William Miles and Fred 
Wiseman. And if they don't know your work, 
and there are any weaknesses in your proposal, 
you're doomed." The Program Fund's mission 
to seek out "smaller independents" and "nutty 
ideas" cannot, evidendy, be realized in an age of 
fiscal austerity. Jon Rice says, "In the old days, 
everyone said, 'This person hasn't done any- 
thing, give them a chance.' But we don't have 
enough money to risk it on people with no track 
record. People should try to get local money if 
they have no track record." 

The CPB board of directors has mandated 
news and public affairs as one of this year's 
funding priorities (the others are children's pro- 
gramming and drama). "Some areas, like 
nature, are very' popular, but they easily attract 
corporate money," Katt explains. "There are 
other areas that need motivation, and this is 
where the Program Fund should put its money." 
Rice agrees, "It's enormously hard to get cor- 
porate underwriting [for documentaries], so it's 
perfect for CPB to put an emphasis there." But 
Jimenez charges that, at her panel, "entertain- 
ment was clearly the priority. Station represen- 
tatives want to draw in audiences. The panel ap- 
proved a project on [Katharine] Hepburn and 
[Spencer] Tracy, and one on W.C. Fields." 



Another independent panelist said, "I was sur- 
prised. I wasn't prepared to see quite so many 
music and dance productions on the final list. I 
felt there should have been more of a balance." 
Within the last year, the Program Fund has 
allocated money in the Open Solicitation 
category for such music and dance programs as 
Baryshnikov by Tharp, Watch Me Move!, Elec- 
tric Spell, A Jazz Tribute, and About Tap. On 
the other hand, four of these five shows treat 
minority subjects. 

Yet the panels' sensitivity to the Congressional 
mandate that CPB fund minority productions 
has been questioned. Silver says that Ron Hull's 
"one overt piece of guidance was urging us to 
give extra consideration to minority program- 
ming." But one panel member, who asked to re- 
main anonymous, said, "There is a disturbing 
lack of projects written by minorities, instead of 
about minorities. Do they count as minority? 
Nobody on the panel seemed to care, or even 
questioned, 'Whose vision is this?'" According 
to Hull, however, a project is counted as 
"minority" only if three major slots — producer, 
line producer, director, writer, major talent, 
subject matter — are minority. 

One producer has suggested that projects be 
categorized by budget for panel consideration. 
Agrees Silver, "Apples, oranges and peanuts are 
all thrown in one basket for the panel. It was of- 
fensive that some things that could obviously get 
station or corporate support were there." Many 
panelists stressed the importance of a tight pro- 




JUNE1985 



posal. Jimenez warned, "Schleppy little in- 
dependent filmmakers come in with proposals 
that don't make sense. It's a serious problem. 
These other people are professional grant- 
writers." Even more important is a good work- 
in-progress reel. Explains KLRU's Arhos, "The 
worst thing a producer can do is send a mediocre 
sample, and expect the panel to understand that 
it's going to be better later." 



Whatever the shortcomings of the panel process, 
today, most CPB-funded shows do not utilize 
peer panels at all. 

The early Program Fund series — Crisis to 
Crisis, Matters of Life and Death, and even Na- 
tional Television Theatre, the precursor of 
American Playhouse— used the reader/advisory 
panel mechanism. But by the end of 1982, four 
station consortia productions had been 
established — American Playhouse, Frontline, 
Great Performances, and Wonder- 
works — which, although receiving large 
amounts of Program Fund money, were not re- 
quired to use peer panels in selecting projects. (In 
FY '84, the consortia shows, along with The 
MacNeil/LehrerNewshour, received $13 million 
from CPB; Open Solicitations received $6.6 
million.) The Association of Independent Video 
and Filmmakers has charged — as noted in the 
House Committee on Energy and Commerce 
report to the Public Broadcasting Amendments 
Act of 1984— that, in 1983, 49 percent of CPB's 





Consortia programs now gobble up 
a large portion ot the Program 
Fund's budget. Above, "The Hobo* 
ken Chicken Emergency," part of 
the "Wonderworks" series. 

Courtesy Wonderworks 



"Is Anyone Home on the Range?" was funded under the Open Solicitation category, into 
which most independent proposals now fall. 

Courtesy filmmaker 

production funds were distributed using panels, 
compared with 69 percent in 1982 and 71 percent 
in 1981. Now, only the Open Solicitation ghetto 
into which independent proposals have been 
pushed regularly utilizes the panel review pro- 
cess. 

Hull claims the consortia do not diverge from 
the Program Fund's original goals. "I think they 
live up to our mandates in every respect," he 
says. "The best work on public television is done 
by independent producers, usually working with 
a station. I believe independents don't give up 
anything by doing that." Although overstepping 
peer review, the consortia shows are nominally 
subject to CPB funding provisos. "They must 
use indepedent producers, and provide oppor- 
tunities for minorities," says Katt. "And we 
watch them quite carefully to see that they do." 
Frontline, however, offered independents, in 
Rep. Waxman's words, "so little input. . .that 
CPB was compelled to disallow the program 
from counting as an independent production." 
[For background on Frontline, see "A World of 
Their Own," The Independent, Jan. /Feb. 
1983.] Even some stations have been unhappy 
with Frontline's treatment of independents; ac- 
cording to Maria Smith, director of program- 
ming and assistant station manager at KUED-Salt 
Lake City, "There was some discussion [at the 
Regional Program Managers Meeting in Oc- 
tober 1984] that more independent productions 
should be included in Frontline. Frontline was 
created as an umbrella for independent 
documentaries, but the first year saw a lot of sta- 
tion productions. " But Hull insists that "the vast 
majority of Frontline programs are in- 
dependently produced. Independents are well 
served there." He adds, "It was the structure of ©Susan Linfieid 1985 



how Frontline received and responded to 
proposals" that created problems with indepen- 
dents. According to Katt, the Program Fund has 
met with Frontline personnel and "imposed cer- 
tain conditions on them — such as being more 
responsive about why proposals were rejected 
and publicizing the fact they're looking for pro- 
posals." Hull says, "It's my hope that we'll be 
able to count appropriate Frontline programs as 
independent in the future." 

Public television veteran James Day says of 
the consortia, "I could probably argue a case for 
those big blocs of money — except perhaps 
MacNeil/Lehrer — but it really comes down to 
there not being enough money in the system. 
There should be both [station consortia and in- 
dependent productions], but I don't think 
money should necessarily be taken out of the big 
projects and given to Open Solicitations." 



Is the Program Fund glass half empty or half 
full? Hull is optimistic about the future of in- 
dependents in public television. "I think it's get- 
ting better and better," he says. "We need to 
take the best ideas from each sector of the public 
television system. And the federal funding levels 
are going up. As long as that's true, we're all go- 
ing to come out ahead. That should be our goal: 
to get the highest appropriations from 
Congress." But independent producer Silver 
says: "I think it's a very dim near and medium- 
range future. The only hope is for Congress to 
mandate a set-aside of funds for independents." 



JUNE 1985 



THE INDEPENDENT 13 



VIDEO.TECHNOLOGY, 
AND THE 
EDUCATED ARTIST 



Catherine Lord 




Maurice Tuchman tried to weave this corporate/art talent grid into real-life collaborations 
though his Art and Technology extravaganza. 



14 THE INDEPENDENT 



The following is a revised version of a talk given 
during a recent panel titled "Video and the 
Education of the Un-Artist." The reference is to 
"The Education of the Un-Artist," a series of 
three articles published in the early 1970s by 
Allan Kaprow, self-described as "founder and 
dean of the Happenings movement.'" Not sur- 
prisingly, the "un-artists" Kaprow tendered as 
role models were principals in the late sixties con- 
ceptual, "happening" crowd. More interesting is 
the argument Kaprow used to promote their ac- 
tivities — a half-baked dream to return art to the 
realm of social utility, propelled by an expedient 
faith in the neutrality of technology, economics, 
and power. 



Rereading Allan Kaprow, it was impossible not 
to get into a mental argument with almost every- 
thing. I won't cover all the details, since this is 
not the place for a long squabble with the early 
seventies. A few things, however, are at once 
relevant and irresistible. First there is Kaprow's 
conflation of cultural criticism with linguistic 
taxonomy: in a way all too evocative of the 
jargon now spoken by video curators, he can 
proceed only by attaching modifiers to the 
troublesome root (non-art, anti-art, art-art, and 
un-art), picking the right answer (un-art), and at- 
tacking the rest. It is, obviously, a futile 
maneuver — one cannot demolish the idea of art 
(or video art) as a socially transcendent activity 
by further refining its subcategories. Second is 
Kaprow's bias toward avoidance: un-art is the 
winning permutation; anti-art, which might be 
not only a more confrontational but a more 
feasible option, is quickly dismissed as well- 
intentioned but naive politics, inevitably subject 
to cooptation. The third thing, apropos of 
cooptation, is the relationship proposed between 
artists (which is what Kaprow means, although 
he calls them "former artists" or "un-artists") 
and technology. Take this passage: 

Agencies for the spread of information via 
the mass mediums [sic] , and for the instiga- 
tion of social activities, will become the new 
channels of insight and communication; 
not substituting for the classic "art ex- 
perience" . . . but offering former artists 
compelling ways of participating in struc- 
tured processes that can reveal new values, 
including the value of fun. 

In this respect the technological pursuits 
of today's non-artists and un-artists will 
multiply as industry, government and edu- 
cation provide their resources. "Systems" 
technology involving the interfacing of per- 
sonal and group experiences, instead of 
"product" technology, will dominate the 

JUNE 1985 



trend. Software, in other words. But it will 
be a systems approach that favors an open- 
ness toward outcome, in contrast to the 
literal and goal-oriented uses now em- 
ployed by most systems specialists. 
. . . [T]he feedback loop is the model. 
Playfulness and the playful use of tech- 
nology suggests a positive interest in acts of 
continuous discovery. Playfulness can 
become in the near future a social and 
psychological benefit. 2 

The rhetoric of process, not product, is 
predictable for the era. What is startling, even in 
retrospect , is the idea of structured play placed in 
explicit metaphorical relation to money. To 
begin with, it sounds like kindergarten-teacher 
shoptalk — children learn better if you sneak in 
the serious stuff while they're having fun. But 
note also the notion of useful play. As Kaprow 
allows later, "It is only when active artists will- 
ingly cease to be artists that they may convert 
their abilities, like dollars into yen, into 
something the world can spend." 3 And finally, 
there is the bewildering assumption that the goal- 
oriented producers of technology would like 
nothing better than to assume the role of 
playground supervisors for the grownup 
children that artists, non-artists, even un-artists 
are. ("[A]ll the secular world's a playground," 4 
claims Kaprow.) It's an utterly apolitical model 
of subversion, and needless to say, it didn't hap- 
pen, any of it. The producers of today's fabu- 
lously expensive communications systems are 
not putting their capital into more "open" soft- 
ware. Such systems are not, and never were, 
oriented to "play," "openness," or democratic 
communications. 

Lest it be argued that Kaprow was merely an 
innocent victim of the supposed optimism of the 
period, let me point out that the odds against 
him were abudantly evident — even in the art- 
world, even in the late sixties. The classical case is 
the "Art and Technology" extravaganza spon- 
sored by the Los Angeles County Museum of 
Art. 5 Organized by Maurice Tuchman between 
1966 and 1971, "Art and Technology" was based 
on the premise that in "futuristic" Southern 
California it would be a nice idea if artists could 
wander through high-tech industries like TRW, 
Lockheed, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Litton 
as they would through their own studios. It 
would be, in Tuchman's mind, the logical art his- 
torical sequel to that "collective will to gain ac- 
cess to modern industry" that, all by itself, 
spawned the Futurists, the Constructivists, and 
the Bauhaus. LACMA's board of trustees got 
Tuchman through the front doors, his sales pitch 
being that corporations could get a tax write-off, 
perhaps learn something from the exposure to 
creativity (fly-by-night R&D?) and acquire a free 
work of art to boot . He invited about 80 artists to 
submit projects — no women among them; about 
25 projects materialized. The statistical drop-off 
is what I mean by saying that the odds were 
JUNE 1985 




The Art and Technology Program, sponsored by the Los Angeles Museum of Art, was based 
on the premise that In "futuristic" Southern California it would be a nice idea if artists could 
wander through high-tech industries as they would through their own studios. Robert Whit- 
man, one artist participating in the program, depended completely on Philco-Ford 
physicist John Forkner to execute his installation (above) at the Osaka Expo in 1970. Robert 
Rauschenberg's collaboration (below) with Teledyne, under the auspices of the Art and 
Technology Program, resulted in the construction of "Mud-Muse," a sculpture in which mud, 
compressed air, and sound-generated electronic impulses interact. 




THE INDEPENDENT 15 



already evident: Tuchman's catalogue for the ex- 
hibition is an inadvertently hilarious chronicle of 
the battles lost against the forces of corporate 
COM accounting. There are also more subtle 
structural indicators of the real priorities. The 
cover of the catalogue is a grid of portraits, cor- 
porate execs (suits, ties, clean-shaven) interspersed 
with artists (fashionably hairy). The artists' 
biographies inside the catalogue are limited to 
birthdate and city of residence; the corporate 
biographies detail accomplishments, and are il- 
lustrated with the corporate logo. 

I've wandered, however, from the matter of 
technological optimism and artists in 
playgrounds, as well as the real issue at 
hand — education. Despite my personal pref- 
erences, I understand education not primarily as 
an instrument of enlightenment but as a feeder 
system for vocations that are determined by 
economic priorities. Between Allan Kaprow and 
us, in 1985, stand certain significant 
developments in the uses of electronic signalling 
and in the uses of education: 

1 . The consolidation into corporate hands of in- 
formation technologies, information gathering, 
and the transnational system of telecommunica- 
tions. 

2. The consolidation of both broadcast and 
cable television into an arena for corporate 
speech, for governmental indoctrination, right- 
wing social mobilization, and, at home and 
abroad, for profit, not for public interest. 

3. The defunding by both state and federal 
cultural and educational agencies of grassroots 
communications uses of video technology. 

4. The institutionalization of video as an art 
form — exhibitable, fundable, marketable, and 
all too often modernistically obsessed with its 
own electronic deviations. 

5. The advent of training progams for video ar- 
tists, paralleling earlier accreditation systems for 
painters, sculptors, photographers, etc. 

6. The continued development in universities of 
well-funded, conservative communications pro- 
grams which address policy, planning, and 
various technologies, often determined by 
political priorities as well as programs specifical- 
ly geared to the film and television industries. 

7. The explicit decision of the federal govern- 
ment to "disinvest" in education. The 
euphemism means that federal monies are to be 
withdrawn from students, not from, for exam- 
ple, university research and development pro- 
grams. Assuming that there are many students 
— contrary to the suggestion of William Bennett, 
the new Secretary of Education — who simply 
don't have cars, stereos, or pre-paid vacations 
on the beach to enable the "divestitures" which 
would pay their tuition bills after cuts in federal 
student aid programs, the result is that educa- 
tional institutions will increasingly become the 
domain of the wealthy and of those members of 
the middle class whose parents have decided the 
investment is worth it. 6 As the Heritage Founda- 




Oyvind Fahlstrom's collage of advertising 
Americana is based on the products of 
Heath and Company, a commercial sign 
manufacturer that Fahlstrom worked with 
through the Art and Technology Program. 



tion has eloquently argued, the rich deserve to 
use this country's schools — they paid for them. 

In view of the above — the ghettoization of 
video into an art form, communications monop- 
olies, and the elimination of democratic educa- 
tion — there are multiple ironies involved in em- 
barking on a leisurely discussion, in this aca- 
demic situation, of such notions as the education 
of artists, or the education of un-artists, or video 
culture, or video and the education of un-artists. 
To put it bluntly, the education of the unperson 
is the trend: educational institutions are less con- 
cerned than they used to claim to be with 
humanistic discovery, much less play. Johns 
Hopkins and the Massachusetts Institute of 
Technology, to cite two obvious examples, ac- 
count between them for over $500-million in 
defense contracts. 7 It is not accidental that the 
computer industry is courting the education in- 
dustry, with the aim of creating a client class 
dependent on industry software and potentially 
dependent on privately controlled information 
banks. 

Nevertheless, even educational institutions in 
the business of inculcating conservatism and 
managerial skills run the risk of coincidentally 
providing enough information and analytical 
prowess to produce the exact opposite of their 
intended effect. The paranoids are right: schools 
attract radicals. It is not coincidental that the 
right wing is mobilizing around schools and col- 
leges — paying close attention to libraries, stu- 
dent organizations, textbooks, speakers, faculty, 
etc. 

In this situation, when one is involved in arts 
education — and whether one is aiming for art, 
non-art, anti-art, or un-art — certain specific 
problems arise. Art schools and art departments 
generally attract students who want to be 
creative, in a vague sort of way, or students who 
want to be famous, in an appallingly concrete 
way. Art schools provide the fodder for a boom- 
ing industry, and their administrations' purposes 
are not, to put it mildly, inherently radical or 
even liberal. One of the results of this state of af- 
fairs is summed up by that unforgettable remark 
that being educated as an artist means not being 
educated at all. One of the main reasons for this 



conservatism is that it is against the interests of 
arts institutions to make explicit their investment 
in the production of culture and the consump- 
tion of technology. 

Decent education, for those who wish to pro- 
vide it in such settings, must offer a critique of its 
own existence, which is to say the art world, as 
well as a critique of technology and media. Arts 
education is under no obligation to be useless. 
After all, being an artist is to be marginal: the 
point is to learn how to use that position well. 
Arts education that claims to be alternative must 
not only risk producing but outright encourage 
the anti-artist. In other words, art schools — or 
more likely, their faculty— should try to em- 
power (which, though it is now a trite word, 
would not be a trite achievement) their students 
rather than grade them against a market (even 
the modest video market), rather than produce 
stars who will lure in the subsequent batches of 
students needed to finance a machine that ac- 
tually runs on the "failures." In video, it would 
thus be necessary to convey an understanding 
that most so-called communications equipment 
is not designed or marketed to promote com- 
munication — to receive and record, not to 
transmit. In video, an education would include 
an understanding of how to function, how to 
communicate, without access to enormous state- 
of-the-art computers and splendid broadcast 
studios. (Just because video is now said to be an 
art does not mean that it has to be made with 
state-of-the-art equipment.) 

In short, it bears repeating, as often as possi- 
ble, that producing media, using technology to 
communicate, is a political act. Education 
means learning why. 

NOTES 

1 . The panel was organized by Lyn Blumenthal for 
the national conference of the College Art 
Association in Los Angeles. The articles in the 
series are: Allan Kaprow, "The Education of the 
UnArtist," Artnews, 69:10 (February 1971), pp. 
28-31, 66-68; Artnews, 71:3 (May 1972), pp. 
34-39; Art in America, 62:1 (January 1974), pp. 
85-91. 

2. Artnews, February 1971, pp. 66-67. 

3. Artnews, May 1972, p. 39. 

4. Ibid. 

5. Maurice Tuchman, A Report on the Art and 
Technology Program of the Los Angeles County 
Museum of Art, 1967-1971 (Los Angeles: Los 
Angeles County Museum of Art, 1971). 

6. Media coverage of Bennett's remarks at his first 
press conference in February 1 985 was heavy. See 
The Chronicle of Higher Education, 29:23 (Feb. 
20, 1985), for a cogent account. 



Catherine Lord is a writer and dean of the 
School of Art at the California Institute of the 
Arts. 

: Catherine Lord 1985 



16 THE INDEPENDENT 



JUNE 1985 



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Louis Hock hopes that people will watch 
"The Mexican Tapes" (above, and top right) 
at their leisure, the way they read a book. 

Photo Elizabeth Sisco 
JUNE 1985 




Photo Elizabeth 



Renee Tajima 



Will the revolution in Vi " video tech- 
nology — and prices — start without progressive 
film and videomakers? Half-inch VHS and Beta 
video decks may soon become as common as the 
television set in most American homes. This new 
accessibility to low-cost hardware and tapes 
could ultimately change the way organizing 
groups use media. 

Some producers are not letting the revolution 
pass, opting to test the market by distributing 
their works in Vi " formats, at a low price, in 
order to reach their intended, grassroots au- 
dience. For instance, it is now possible to buy a 
VHS copy of Robert Richter's In Our Hands for 
as little as $29.95 at your local video store. But at 
the same time, an independent film can still run 
into the hundreds of dollars on % " or VHS and 
Beta. What are the implications of these 
developments for the dissemination of social 
issue media? 

Over a decade ago, video production was 
hailed as the best new idea in organizing technol- 
ogy since the mimeograph machine — a cheap al- 
ternative to 16mm film production. It was 
reasoned that if tapes could be produced cheap- 
ly, they could also be widely distributed at low 
cost. But somewhere along the way the vision of 
video- f or- the-masses blurred in the face of 
economic reality. 

Even before the Reagan federal budget cuts, 
funding criteria for media production began to 
shift toward high end, "quality" works that 
could justify grant dollars by reaching a wide, 
general audience. The best way to reach that au- 
dience is broadcast television, which requires 
production on film or broadcast quality video. 
Fewer and fewer agencies would fund low end 
works, so producers felt pressured to upgrade 
their productions, although many did continue 



to produce with their own equipment or through 
community access centers. 

Videotapes and films-on-tape can be cheaper 
to distribute than 16mm films, and therefore 
have been perceived as a threat to the 16mm 
print market. Many distributors have kept the 
price of video copies of films artificially high in 
order to encourage the purchase of 16mm prints. 
And there is concern among distributors about 
tape pirating. Running a signal through distribu- 
tion copies proved expensive, but the only op- 
tion is to allow your film or tape to be vulnerable 
to dubs. 

Organizing groups have continued to use both 
16mm and V* " video — which emerged as the 
standard format during the 1970s — in their ac- 
tivities, often relying on local schools, libraries, 
or non-profit organizations for access to equip- 
ment and facilities. But the bulkiness and high 
cost of Va " hardware limited video's potential 
for grassroots organizations.